Man admits starting fire at Addingham pub

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A man has today (Thurs) admitted starting an early hours blaze which caused extensive damage to a landmark pub in Addingham.

Leigh Meeks, of School Lane, Addingham, appeared before a judge at Bradford Crown Court this lunchtime after being charged with arson following the fierce blaze at the popular Fleece Inn on Main Street just over a fortnight ago.

Meeks, 33, denied a charge of arson with intent to endanger life, but entered a guilty plea to the alternative allegation of arson being reckless as to whether life would be endangered.

Prosecutor Andrew Horton told Judge Peter Benson that Meeks’ guilty plea was on the basis that he had started a small fire and did not realise what would happen thereafter.

Mr Horton said the guilty plea was likely to be acceptable to the Crown, but he asked for two weeks for the issue to be considered.

Fire crews were called to the pub at about 4.30am on September 23 and two chefs who were sleeping in a flat attached to the premises needed treatment for smoke inhalation after being rescued by firefighters.

Solicitor/advocate Assumpta O’Rourke confirmed that she would be obtaining a psychiatric report on Meeks who is currently remanded in custody.

Judge Benson told Meeks that it was to be hoped that the Crown would accept his guilty plea, but he was going to give them a fortnight to consider it.

He warned Meeks that the offence was a very serious matter and a significant custodial sentence was inevitable.

The judge said he was going to list the case for sentence on November 12.

Kevin Hollinrake MP for Thirsk and Malton Picture: Anna Gowthorpe

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