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East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo

Successful prosecution in St Leonards-on-Sea arson incident

Date : 07 May 2020


A St Leonards-on-Sea resident was recently sentenced to 30 months imprisonment and ordered to make a contribution towards the Voluntary Witness Service following a successful arson conviction. 

On 22nd January, we were called to attend a fire at a residential property on Salisbury Road, St Leonards-on-Sea.  Crews from Hastings, The Ridge and Bexhill used one Hose Reel Jet to extinguish the fire. 

In the immediate aftermath, East Sussex Fire and Rescue together with Sussex Police carried out a fire investigation.  Marie Knight (70) was arrested and charged for arson with recklessness as to whether life was endangered.

The length of the sentence in this successful prosecution owes much to the effective inter-agency working as well as our Fire Investigation team’s ability to highlight the potential risk of life as a result of the deliberately set fire.

Richard Moon, Lead Fire Investigator for ESFRS said, "East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service have a small team of highly trained fire investigation Officers who regularly assist Sussex Police in the investigation of crimes involving arson.  This conviction represents the hard work of this team and their dedicated service to their community". 

Help us tackle arson

Arson and deliberate fires are a problem for the Fire Service, the Police and the Ambulance Service. They endanger lives and divert valuable resources.

Arson often starts with a fascination for fire and progresses to lighting small fires but this can quickly escalate onto skips, cars, derelict properties and most disturbingly people's homes.

Working in close partnership with the Police, Crimestoppers, local authorities, neighbourhood watch schemes and other agencies we educate and aim to deter potential arsonists.

Reporting arson

If you have any information about arson (deliberate fires) or any other crime please call Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit Sussex CrimeStoppers


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