Arson at the side of a shop saw a 52-year-old man setting fire to a stack of newspapers and it was only by the detection of the incident that the shop itself did not go up in flames.
Fortunately, overall damage was relatively small but Judge Olann Kelleher commented that the Centra on South Douglas Road could have been much more seriously damaged.
Judge Kelleher imposed a total sentence of eight months on Carsten Mielke, of Simon community in Cork, for this arson and another similar offence, together with several shoplifting incidents where he stole beer from various premises.
Eddie Burke, solicitor, said of the accused, who pleaded guilty to all charges, “He gets fantastic support from Cork Simon. He has been involved with them for eleven years. He has key workers. Without them, I don’t think he would be able to get through. Drink is his problem. I would put a wager that all of his previous theft offences are for stealing alcohol.” Mr Burke said the defendant also got very good support from his probation officer.
As against that, Judge Kelleher commented, “He nearly burned down the Centra on Douglas Road… Can you imagine?” Carsten Mielke has been living at an apartment in Glendalough House, Grenville Place, Cork.
Sergeant John Kelleher outlined the background to the offences.
“At Centra, South Douglas Road, on October 12 2022, a man can be observed on CCTV sitting outside the shop. At 10.36 p.m. when the shop was closed, he went around to the side of the building to where there is shelter.
“He can be clearly seen on CCTV lighting a stack of papers which were the return newspapers that the shop had left out. The total value of these was approximately €100.
“He stayed in the area with the papers lighting until approximately 11 p.m. when gardaí arrived and moved him on.
“There was damage to the exterior wall of the shop. The damage had to be fixed and painted.
“The total value of the damage was €500. It could have been a lot worse had the fire not been put out by the gardaí.
There was another arson on May 13 at around 11am when he went around the back of a property at Church View, Dennehy’s Cross, Cork. He set fire to loose plastic. It spread rapidly and caused damage to a fence and the rear window of a property.
Otherwise in 2022, he was drunk and a danger at Curraheen Road on May 7, stole beer at at Lidl, Wilton, on June 29, stole beer on July 12 2022 at Aldi, Douglas, and stole beer again at Circle K, Douglas Village, on August 5.
On November 26 he was caught in possession of a knife at Tesco Express, Douglas Road, and he was drunk and a danger at Wilton Road on October 9.
The accused had numerous previous convictions.