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Sunday, 21 December 2014

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Driver torched Cumbrian truck giant Stobart's lorries

A long-distance Eddie Stobart trucker who hated his job set fire to 14 of his employer’s lorries over a two-and-a-half year period.

Ronald Day, 53, from Liverpool, of no fixed address, was jailed for seven years after admitting 14 charges of arson. Chester Crown Court heard how his arson campaign in various parts of the country sparked panic among other drivers.

They refused to sleep in their cabs at night because they feared there may be a fault which caused spontaneous combustion.

His employers, The Stobart Group, lost more than £1million – half a million in the cost of the damage, £300,000 in getting replacement vehicles to keep the business going, and the cost of a detailed investigation into what was going wrong.

It also temporarily harmed the business relationship that Stobarts had with Swedish truck manufacturer Scania. The haulier spent £42m a year with Scania and ran 2,000 of its vehicles.

Scania spent £100,000 on the wholly unnecessary investigation – because all fires were started by Day who held cigarettes under the dashboard causing damage to electrical wiring. The lorries were then gutted or severely damaged.

Martin McRobb, prosecuting, said that in September of last year Stobart found that Day was the only one of its 2,000 employees who was present each time there was a fire. They kept watch as Day went into a cab in Stockport with a cigarette and he was arrested.

Mark LeBroq, defending, said Day grew to hate the job, driving up to eight hours a day and then sleeping in the cab, a lonely life called ‘tramping’ by those who did it. He was in debt and felt he was not getting anywhere.

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