Woman admits starting fire at pub which caused £4,000 worth of damage

The Tramway Pub, Gorleston. Photo: Nick Butcher

The Tramway Pub, Gorleston. Photo: Nick Butcher - Credit: Archant © 2009

A woman has admitted starting a fire in a pub’s toilets which caused £4,000 worth of damage and saw the pub evacuated.

Claire Boyle, 37, admitted arson on December 29, 2018, at the Tramway pub, on Lowestoft Road, in Gorleston.

The charge states that she was reckless as to whether damage was caused to the building or lives put at risk.

Boyle, of Market Row, Great Yarmouth, also admitted being in breach of a 20-week suspended sentence when she appeared at Norwich Crown Court.

Boyle had been due to stand trial in May next year on the arson charge, but on Friday changed her plea to guilty.

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Oliver Haswell, prosecuting, said that the fire was started in the female toilets at the pub at a time when there were other customers in the building.

He said the cost of the damage caused was in total about £4,000.

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The court heard that smoke was spotted after the fire was started, and people left the pub.

He said: “The alarm was raised and everyone was able to evacuate in a sensible and controlled manner.”

He said that a fire extinguisher was deployed to try to put the fire out but said there was damage caused to the pub.

However he added no-one had been put “in any grave peril”.

The fire meant the toilets were out of action for a period, he said, while they underwent repairs for the damage.

Mr Haswell said that following the fire, the pub also had to temporarily shut for 24 hours immediately afterwards, which led to a loss of earnings, at what would have been a busy time for the business.

Mr Haswell said that this had caused some financial loss to the business because of Boyle’s actions.

John Morgans appeared for Boyle and said there were mental health issues and asked for reports in the case in view of the progress she had made since the offence.

Judge Maureen Bacon adjourned for reports and sentencing will take place on January 12.

She accepted Boyle had made significant progress and said: “I need some further help from probation as to what they might recommend.”

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