THE man who set fire to the empty Accrington Conservative Club causing widespread disruption on the day of the Queen’s visit has appeared in court on a separate arson charge.
Blackburn magistrates heard Colin Peter Andrews, 39, of Whalley Road, Accrington, had been dealt with by a caution for the Conservative Club attack.
But he was charged with arson after setting fire to trailers, a polly tunnel and plants to the total value of £1,500 belonging to Tinkerbrook Nurseries at Oswaldtwistle.
Andrews pleaded guilty to the offence and was remanded on bail for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.
Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said as well as the fire at the Conservative club and the latest offence Andrews had previously received a five year sentence for arson. He also asked for four fire
related offences to be taken into consideration.
The blaze at the derelict Conservative Club building, which was also formerly Churchill's nightclub, in Cannon Street happened on May 16 when The Queen and Prince Philip visited the town as part of
a visit which also included a trip to Burnley.
It was timed to coincide with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The fire had mainly taken hold in the first and second floors, including the famous old ballroom.
Crews broke in to the rear of the building to fight the blaze from inside. A hazardous materials unit arrived to deal with run-off water.
Staff from the neighbouring Howarth and Nuttall solicitors office were evacuated, while parents had to go through the cordon to collect youngsters from First Class Childcare.
Plans were discussed in 2010 to demolish the building, including its famous ballroom, after it fell into disrepair.