A MAN who set fire to a Huddersfield nightclub had been paid to burn it down, a court heard.
Arsonist Reece Smith of Bishop’s Court, Berry Brow, was yesterday jailed for his part in a plot to destroy Mystique gentleman’s club at Folly Hall.
The massive blaze was lit just after midnight on June 7 when the 21-year-old broke into the property with two jerry cans of petrol.
He poured the fuel onto a sofa and on the internal stairway and set the Chapel Hill premises on fire.
But Leeds Crown Court heard Smith had been promised £500 to commit the arson and that the masterminds of the scheme had not yet been found.
The arson caused £50,000 of damage to the club, while the Chutney Mahal restaurant below was severely damaged by water from firefighters’ hoses.
Smith, who admitted sparking the blaze, said he had been given a £65 deposit, some of which he used to buy the jerry cans and petrol.
The court heard that at 12.30am he cut through a wire grill at the rear of the property and then smashed the window to get in.
He had been given information about how to get in and out and told how to deal with the alarm.
Having set the club on fire he was spotted on Chapel Hill by firefighters arriving at the scene.
CCTV footage showed him getting a taxi into Huddersfield where he bought some beer.
He then returned home and was again caught on camera at 1.06am having changed his clothing.
He went back into Huddersfield where he carried on drinking until 6am.
When he was arrested police found a black holdall of his clothing and Post-It notes containing a list of items to purchase, including two £10 jerry cans and £20 of petrol.