Serial arsonist set fire to bins under mains gas pipe at Edinburgh student flats

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A SERIAL arsonist who caused thousands of pounds of damage after setting fire to bins and cars is facing a jail sentence.

Richard Scott, 30, set several bins and motors ablaze in Edinburgh city centre over a two week vandalism spree earlier this year.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Pic: JPI Media

Edinburgh Sheriff Court. Pic: JPI Media

During the “very concerning” arson campaign Scott set fire to bins outside a student accommodation block and right below “a mains gas pipe.”

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Scott, whose address was given in court as HMP Edinburgh, also damaged a valuable stain glass window at a listed building in the capital after setting fire to two wheelie bins.

The vandal was found to have caused a total of £8,844 worth of damage to bins, vehicles and the stain glass window during the incidents.

Scott admitted eight offences when he appeared in the dock from custody at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Tuesday, May 28th.

Not guilty pleas to a further six similar allegations were accepted by the Crown prior to the case calling in court.

Prosecutor Sophie Hanlon told the court the more serious fire-raising attacks took place at a block of student flats at the city’s Cowgate and at a business premises on King Stables Road.

Ms Hanlon said: “On January 3 at the Cowgate damage to a bin was reported to the police and an officer viewed CCTV footage which showed the accused at around 9.30pm entering a courtyard at the locus.

“He approached a bin, set fire to it and walked away. He was identified by the officer.

“The fire was started close to a wall and directly beneath a mains gas pipe. The rear courtyard relates to student accommodation.”

The fiscal added a further attack took place at the Whitespace Creative Agency which has its office within St Cuthbert’s Graveyard in the capital’s city centre.

Ms Hanlon said: “Around 1am on January 4 police attended and noticed damage to bins and the fabric of the building.

“CCTV again identified the accused. He bent down and set alight more rubbish on the ground.

“He set a third set of rubbish alight and caused damage to a listed building as well as damage to wheelie bins.

“The total cost was £390 for the bins and £2,814 for damage to a stain glass window on the listed building.”

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The fiscal also said Scott set an Audi car on fire at Heriot Bridge on January 11 this year causing £2,000 with the car having to be written off.

A second vehicle was also written off after Scott set a van on fire at the city’s Gilmour’s Close two days later.

Defending solicitor Dan Cameron said he would reserve his mitigation for the sentencing hearing.

Sheriff Michael O’Grady QC said he viewed the fire attacks as “very concerning" and deferred sentence to next month for the preparation of reports and risk assessment to be carried out.

Scott was remanded in custody.

Scott pleaded guilty to setting a series of fires and causing damage at Rose Street North Lane, Cowgate, King Stables Road, Heriot Bridge and Gilmour’s Close, all Edinburgh, between January 1 and 13 this year.