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Last Updated: Monday, 29 November, 2004, 15:26 GMT
Service station arsonist jailed
Jason New
Jason New set fire to the machine in a bid to get his money back
A man who caused a massive fire at a motorway service station after losing 200 on a slot machine has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Jason New, 31, of Foxdale Avenue, Blackpool, used a cigarette lighter to set fire to the machine at Birch services, near Rochdale, on the M62.

The resulting blaze gutted the shopping and restaurant areas, causing damage estimated to cost 7m to repair.

New admitted arson at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court.

The court heard he had set fire to the machine in a bid to get his money back.

Birch Services, after the fire
Birch Services suffered damage costing 7m to repair
Judge Jonathan Geake told him: "I think it is fair to point out that the general opinion is that you are not normally an arson risk.

"Nonetheless, it was a deliberate act. You started the fire out of anger and frustration and because of your unsuccessful gambling.

"It was an extremely reckless act but I do accept that you never intended the disastrous consequences."

He added that New's guilty plea had saved him from a lengthier sentence.

At an earlier hearing, the court was told New had gone to the services with two friends to play on the fruit machines.

New started kicking it before buying a lighter from the shop and setting fire to it.

It took 74 firefighters, drawn from 13 stations, more than four hours to bring the blaze under control.

'Slot machine arsonist' in court
16 Nov 04 |  Manchester
'Slot machine rage' sparked fire
28 Sep 04 |  Manchester
Fire destroys M62 services
09 Oct 03 |  Manchester

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