Teen arsonist jailed over bin fires

A GRAFTON teenager has been sent to jail for three months for breaching a good behaviour bond by lighting wheelie bins on fire.

Seven months ago, 18-year-old Dylan Joshua Stokes was given a nine-month suspended sentence for reckless driving.

In Grafton Local Court yesterday, he was convicted of seven new charges - four counts of damaging property by fire and one each of offensive behaviour, common assault and destruction of property.

Magistrate Kim Pogson said the new charges constituted a serious breach of the conditions of the young man's suspended sentence.

The magistrate said he therefore had no choice but to remand Stokes in custody for the remainder of the nine-month sentence.

Stokes, of Clarence Way, showed no sign of distress as he was led away to jail. Family in the public gallery were distressed.

The teenager's lawyer, Greg Coombes, said Stokes abided by the law until last June, when he turned 18 and started drinking alcohol.

He said the young man's spate of crimes was sparked by the death of two close family members.

He added that Stokes also suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit disorder.

Stokes admitted lighting seven wheelie bins and one skip on fire over two nights in January.

He was caught after the fire brigade contacted police with fears of a serial arsonist following a spate of late-night bin fires in central Grafton.

Stokes was ordered to enter into a 12-month good behaviour bond for damaging property by fire and destruction of property.

The charges of common assault and destruction of property were laid following an incident at his former residence last December.

Stokes was also intoxicated at the time of those offences.



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