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Guilty pleas over council office arson

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A man has pleaded guilty to four counts of arson at offices shared by two councils.

The BBC has reported that Andrew Main, of Roke Marsh, Wallingford, pleaded guilty to the charges at Oxford Crown Court, but not guilty to a further charge of arson with intent to endanger life.

Fire swept through South Oxfordshire DC’s headquarters in Crowmarsh Gifford in January, which is also used by Vale of the White Horse DC. In total 27 fire crews were needed to douse the blaze.

Two other fires occurred the same night at a nearby undertaker’s premises and a thatched cottage.

The BBC said no explanation was given in court as to why Mr Main started the fires.

He has been remanded in custody pending a decision on whether a trial will proceed over the arson with intent to endanger life charge.

Joint chief executive David Buckle in March launched a survey of how the public thought the two councils had responded to the damage. The exercise closed this week and results are being analysed.

Mr Buckle said: “While we got our services back up and running as quickly as possible after the fire it will be helpful to know what people think we did well and what we could have done differently.”


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