A Devastating Arson

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Drug Addict Torches Ulfah Arts Centre Hours after Release from Prison



Former prison convict Leon Smythe set fire to a Birmingham arts centre causing over £100,000 worth of damage, just hours after being released from prison.


The 40-year-old went on a binge of crack, lager and brandy after leaving jail. He then entered Ulfah Arts and Media at the Highgate Craft Centre and set fire to the volunteer run business, though he intended to burgle it initially. He fled without raising an alarm however a passerby luckily managed to call the fire service.


He has been jailed for five years for arson, it is said the blaze caused more than £100,000 worth of damage. The cost to Ulfah Arts had been said to be between £35,000 to £40,000.


Detective Constable Steve Smith said, “This was a serious fire which devastated the Arts Centre, the community it serves and those whose homes were affected.


“Smythe showed no regard for all the people he placed in danger and has given no real reason for committing this terrible act.


“The sentence shows that such reckless and dangerous crimes will not go unpunished and hopefully all those whose lives he touched will take some comfort from the sentence he has today received.”

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