Speed camera arsonist is jailed
A speed camera arsonist who was caught after filming the blaze on his mobile phone has been jailed for 12 months.
Ashley Rowland, 23, was asked to target the camera by his lorry driver neighbour, Anthony Luty, 28, after his HGV was photographed speeding.
But the friends' bid to avoid prosecution came unstuck when Rowland set fire to the speed camera after police had already removed the footage.
Luty, who was also jailed for nine months, came up with the plan after his articulated lorry was caught doing 49mph on the A631 at Hemswell Cliff. The 50mph road was limited to 40mph for HGV's.
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Lincoln Crown Court heard Luty was filmed at 4.30am on October 17, last year, and realising he had been photographed, asked Rowland to return to the site the next day and set fire to the camera.
Rowland, who at the time lived next door to Luty in North End Drive, Doncaster, went back alone to the scene at around 10pm on October 18 and used a tyre and accelerant to carry out an arson attack on the device.
But the court was told police had already removed the film of Luty earlier that morning - making the purpose of the blaze pointless.
The hapless pair were caught when police looked at vehicles in the area over the two days and then realised Luty and Rowland lived next to each other in South Yorkshire.
When police seized Rowland's mobile phone they found a picture of the burning speed camera. Phil Howes, prosecuting, told the court: "Luty paid Rowland to damage the camera in the hope that speeding evidence would be lost."
Both men admitted a single charge of arson on October 18, 2011, when they appeared together in the dock. The court heard Rowland, now of Adwick Road, Mexborough, had previous convictions for criminal damage in 2011.
Robert Sandford, defending Rowland, said the idea was to damage the film in the camera.
"In fact it turned out the camera was an empty shell. The film had already been removed," he admitted.Mr Sandford said Rowland was suffering financial problems and Christmas was coming up when he accepted Luty's offer.
Chris Tonge, defending Luty, said he also accepted his role in planning the fire. "Mr Luty asked Mr Rowland to go," he added.The court heard Luty was of previous good character and had just learnt he was going to be a father.
Mr Tonge told the court: "He deeply regrets getting angry when he saw the flash from behind in his mirror. He paid the fine, took the points and the course of justice wasn't perverted because there was no film in the camera. All of this was for nought."