AN ARSONIST who set fire to a metal cage full of cardboard outside a petrol station before running off has been jailed. 

Geraint Gillard was caught on a CCTV camera starting the blaze at the Texaco Garage on Pontypool’s Osborne Road.

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Cardiff Crown Court heard how it was fortunate that some unknown members of the public moved the burning cage away from the unattended petrol station building.

A judge said the garage was near a residential area.


Claire Pickthall, prosecuting, said: “At around 1.10am on November 28, 2020, the defendant is captured on CCTV approaching a cage of cardboard outside the Texaco petrol station.

“A fire quickly takes hold and he is seen running off and making no attempt to contact the emergency services.

“Members of the public saw what had happened and pulled the cage away from the building.

“Officers recognised the defendant from the footage and he was arrested on December 2 in the same clothes as he was seen wearing on the CCTV.

“He told the police, ‘That’s not me.’”

Gillard, 30, of Uplands Drive, Trevethin, Pontypool, admitted arson.

Miss Pickthall said the defendant has 24 previous convictions for 31 offences.

The court was told he has a previous conviction for arson for a similar offence when he started a blaze at the back of a shop.

Gillard also accepted being in breach of a suspended jail sentence imposed last year for burglary.

Hilary Roberts, representing the defendant, said: “His best mitigation is his guilty plea.

“He was living on the streets for several years and was taking amphetamine to keep him going.

“The defendant is a troubled and challenged individual.”

Mr Roberts added how his client has the “symptoms of ADHD”.

Judge Richard Williams jailed Gillard, who appeared via video link from prison, for 12 months and ordered him to pay a £190 victim surcharge after his release from custody.

The sentencing range for the category of arson the defendant committed is between six months and 18 months.

He was given full credit for his early guilty plea.