A TRUCKER who hated his job has been jailed for seven years after torching 14 vehicles in a two and a half year arson campaign.
Ronald Day travelled the country lighting fires costing his employer, Stobart Group, £1million and causing panic among his driver colleagues.
Chester crown court heard yesterday that Day, 53, hated driving eight hours a day and sleeping in his cab and started his arson attacks in September 2009 reports the Daily Mirror.
Striking at depots from Manchester to Aveley, he held cigarettes under a lorry’s dashboard causing damage to electrical wiring and catastrophic fires.
On two occasions he restarted a fire after firefighters had put it out. Until he was caught in September of last year, other drivers – fearing a fault which caused spontaneous combustion – refused to sleep in their cabs.
And while there were no injuries, some vehicles were set alight close to where drivers were asleep.
The Stobart Group, which is currently featured in a TV documentary series, lost over £1million – £500,000 in the cost of the damage, £300,000 in replacement vehicles and the cost of a detailed probe into what was going wrong.
And the firm’s Swedish truck supplier Scania spent more than £100,000 searching for the cause of the fires.
Eventually Stobart investigators found that Day was the only person present at the time of each fire and they put him under surveillance until he was caught approaching a lorry with a cigarette.
Defending, Mark LeBroq said Day, from Liverpool, bore no malice towards his employer but he grew to hate his job.
In debt and feeling life was hopeless, he acted in a “distorted frame of mind”.
But jailing him the Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, said that Day, who admitted 14 charges of arson, had done it “again and again and again”.