Thomas Bridge 01 May 2015

Man pleads guilty to Oxfordshire council arson attack

Man pleads guilty to Oxfordshire council arson attack image

A man has admitted starting a series of fires in Oxfordshire, including a blaze that destroyed council offices.

Andrew Main, 47, has pleaded guilty to four counts of arson at Oxford Crown Court. He pleaded not guilty to a charge of arson with intent to endanger life.

It was originally thought that the blaze, which devastated town hall offices and two other buildings, could have been linked to an ongoing planning application row.

No-one was hurt during the fire that tore through buildings in the early hours of 15 January.

It is thought gas canisters were used to start the fire, with eyewitnesses reporting seeing a car being driven into the local authority building.

South Oxfordshire District Council later released a video documenting the damage caused to its offices, which were also used to house staff from Vale of the White Horse District Council.

Following the fire, South Oxfordshire’s leader, Cllr John Cotton, said the majority of residents would have ‘barely noticed a blip in the services we’re providing’ thanks to the ‘serious hard work from our staff’.

Main has been remanded in custody.

He will appear in court on May 29 after a full psychiatric report was ordered.

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