British arsonist who caused Benidorm natural park blaze gets ten-year ban on entering Spain

A British man will be expelled from Spain for ten years after deliberately starting fires that devastated over two hectares of the Sierra Helada natural park in Benidorm.

The expulsion order on the 63-year-old will take effect on May 31, after he was arrested on June 22 last year.

The unnamed man- from Scotland- has been in custody ever since then, and was given a three-year jail term by the Alicante Provincial Court on Thursday.

He will have served 11 months behind bars by the end of May, which makes him eligible for early release, and will therefore be deported.

The court has fined him €7,200 and he will also have to pay compensation of nearly €12,000 to the Valencian government and Alicante Provincial Council to cover the cost of extinguishing the blaze.

A quick response from emergency services prevented a more serious incident with planes dropping water over the area.

Scrubland and pine trees were incinerated, but despite the fire starting close to several properties, the flames never reached them.

The man never admitted his guilt until Thursday’s trial and the reason for causing the fire at the Sierra Helada has never been revealed, with no mitigating circumstances of mental illness discovered.

The court heard he deliberately started fires at three different points of the natural park on June 22 with the express intention of causing destruction.

He was arrested by Benidorm Policia Local officers as he came down from the mountain area and officers found him carrying a backpack containing lighters used to commit the arson.

The man’s lawyer argued that the environmental damage caused by the blaze had been valued at only €179.

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