£31,000 Paignton bus arson charges dropped
ARSON charges against a man accused of setting fire to three buses in Paignton have been dropped.
Stephen Lee Bowstead, 23, had denied causing £31,000 of damage to the Stagecoach vehicles on July 30.
More than 20 members of the public called the fire brigade when they saw the blaze lighting up the night sky as two double deckers and a single decker went up in flames.
Bowstead, of no fixed abode, was due to be committed to Exeter Crown Court to face the charges but when he appeared before magistrates in Torquay the case was dismissed.
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However, he was convicted of setting fire to beach huts in Paignton on June 26 causing £350 of damage.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of arson intending to cause damage and being reckless as to whether it was destroyed.
He was sent to jail for 60 days.
A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: "The defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of arson which involved setting fire to beach huts.
"However, on reviewing the case against the defendant relating to allegedly setting fire to buses, the CPS had to discontinue the prosecution due to insufficient evidence.
A Stagecoach spokesman said: "The decision on whether or not to proceed with a case is a matter for the police and the CPS."