Man pleads guilty to arson at Costa coffee shop in Whitby

The Costa coffee shop in Whitby after the fire. PIC: Richard Ponter
The Costa coffee shop in Whitby after the fire. PIC: Richard Ponter

An arsonist who set fire to the Costa coffee shop in Whitby is facing another jail sentence.

Jeffrey Harrison, 48, is said to have started the blaze by lighting some rubbish in a bin next to the coffee house in Baxtergate.

The Costa coffee shop in Whitby, boarded up after the fire. PIC: Richard Ponter

The Costa coffee shop in Whitby, boarded up after the fire. PIC: Richard Ponter

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The building was damaged and the life of one of the residents living in a flat above the shop was imperilled, York Crown Court heard.

Harrison, from Saltburn-by-the-Sea, was arrested following the incident on April 24 and charged with arson, intending to damage or destroy the building, and being reckless as to whether the life of a named man would be endangered.

He was remanded in custody and appeared at the Crown Court via video link on Tuesday, when he admitted the charge.

Harrison’s solicitor, advocate Stephen Munro, said the defendant used a lighter to set fire to some rubbish on top of a bin bag and left it “smouldering”.

“He accepts that there was a risk that others might be around,” added Mr Munro. “He was in drink, heavily intoxicated.”

Prosecutor Rob Galley said: “It would be obvious to anybody… that there were flats above this (shop).”

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC - who once jailed Harrison for 16 months for a “very-similar” previous fire-related offence - said because of the defendant’s record he would have to be assessed by a psychiatrist before sentence to gauge the extent to which he posed a danger to the public.

Mr Stubbs adjourned sentence to July 1. Harrison, of Runswick Lane, Hinderwell, was remanded in custody until then.

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