by Filtonvoice writers
A Filton man who set fire to 20 vehicles causing hundreds of thousands of pounds of damage has been jailed.
Daniel Cron, 26, appeared at Bristol Crown Court yesterday (Wednesday 11 January) where he was sentenced to three years in prison having pleaded guilty to 21 counts of arson – 20 vehicles and a fence – at a previous hearing.
Cron, along with an as yet unidentified man, set fire to both private and commercial vehicles in the Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford areas of South Gloucestershire in the early hours of 3 April last year.
A large number of the vehicles were minibuses which belonged to a community group which provided transport services for vulnerable adults and children.
Following the incident, detectives appealed for the public’s help to identify CCTV footage which could aid their investigation.
Dozens of people submitted footage from their private CCTV, doorbell cameras and dashcam.
Using the footage, officers then tracked Cron and the other man as he set fire to the vehicles over a three-and-a-half-hour period.
Inspector Steve Davey, of Operation Remedy, said: “Cron has never offered any explanation for his actions and it was only by sheer luck that nobody was seriously injured or killed.
“While no one was hurt, vulnerable members of the community lost a vital transport resource while the community group which owned the minibuses along with other motorists suffered a significant financial hit and the inconvenience of replacing their vehicles.”
He added: “We’re extremely grateful for the support we received from the public following our appeals. Their help in providing us with footage saved a lot of valuable police time and enabled us to quickly put together a route Cron and the other man took and provided the evidence we needed to secure this conviction.”
How charity was affected by arson attack
The attacks included an attack on several vehicles parked on the Rolls-Royce site at Filton, where Four Towns and Vale Link Community Transport based their minibus fleet. Thirteen vehicles were damaged by fire and only one of these might be repairable. This was half of their fleet. Other vehicles were also damaged including two vehicles belonging to the Bristol Methodist Church.
Four Towns and Vale Link Community Transport, which provides transport for people with mobility issues in areas including Filton, Patchway, Bradley Stoke, Almondsbury, Alveston, Frampton Cotterell, Olveston, Thornbury and Winterbourne, saw 13 vehicles damaged during a spree between 1am and 4.40am on April 3rd, which saw a total of 23 vehicles destroyed in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke, Patchway and Stoke Gifford.
The charity was able to restore most of its services, despite losing half of its fleet, but faced a new challenge as it has been told to move its remaining vehicles off the parking space Rolls-Royce had let it use free of charge before the arson attacks.