Fireman jailed for arson

A veteran fireman arranged for his £47,000 car to be torched, so he could claim the insurance money. Anthony Murray, 43, from Orrell near Wigan, arranged for a conspirator to set the fire.

Fireman jailed for arson

Disgraced fireman Anthony Murray Credit: Lancashire Police

A fireman has been jailed for five years, after arranging for his £47,000 BMW to be torched so he could claim insurance money.

Anthony Murray, 43, from Orrell near Wigan, had a conspirator set the blaze in his fire station car park - while he was out fighting fires.

Murray, a 17-year veteran of Lancashire Fire and Rescue, planned a hoax call while he was on duty to ensure he was away from the crime scene.

Gareth Collier, 34 and from Wigan, phoned 999 to report a fake accident, seemingly so serious, it required all the station's staff. He then lit the blaze.

Co-conspirator Gareth Collier Credit: Lancashire Police

The pair worked together as part-time doormen, and Murray offered Collier £1000 to carry out the plot.

Murray tried to avoid arrest by claiming the fire was started by an unknown person who held a grudge against him and Collier. The fireman even wrote fake threatening letters to bolster the lie.

But police suspected both of them. Collier's car was spotted near the scene, and his DNA was found on a cigarette lighter close by.

A judge at Liverpool Crown Court told them their crimes were motivated by "greed" and a desire to pay off debts. He said to Murray: "You gave yourself what you must have thought was the perfect alibi because you were nowhere near the car when it was set on fire".

Murray was jailed for 60 months for conspiracy to commit arson and perverting the course of justice. He was also sentenced for fraud. Collier was jailed for 27 months for conspiracy to commit arson.