Arsonist caused £250,000 of damage to historic Leeds mill

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A NIGHTCLUB doorman caused £250,000 worth of damage after torching an historic mill in Leeds.

Luke Frost, 26, was jailed for 28 months after he caused major structural damage to Swallow Hill Mill, Tong Road, Wortley, on May 10 this year.

After he was arrested Frost told police he had caused the blaze as it made him feel better as he was depressed.

Frost set fire to wood piled up against the Victorian building which in the process of being renovated.

The fire spread to the main building, which is home to a number of different companies.

Louise Pryke, prosecuting, said around £100,000 worth of damage was caused to the building and around £150,000 of property was destroyed at a print works based in the building. Frost, who lives close to the building on Tong Road, was seen on CCTV returning to watch the blaze as firefighters fought to save the building.

Leeds Crown Court heard Frost started the fire soon after getting home from his shift as a nightclub door supervisor.

Frost pleaded guilty to two offences of arson.

The court heard he had been suffering from depression at the time of the offence as he had problems with his former partner and his grandmother had suffered a heart attack.

He had stopped taking his medication when he started the blaze.

David Tyrer, mitigating, said his client had committed the offence due to his emotional state and not because he had a fascination with starting fires.

Frost has now lost his job as a result of the conviction

Jailing Frost, judge Guy Kearl, QC, said: “I accept that there is genuine remorse and that you were seeking to set fire to or discharge your emotions by setting fire to the wood.”

He added: “The potential consequences financially and in terms of threat to life were considerable. For offences of arson at this level a custodial sentence is inevitable.”