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UK

15/03/2019

A motorcycle dealer has admitted torching his business.

Ian Murray pleaded guilty at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on 6 March to deliberately setting fire to the building at Bilston Glen Industrial Estate, in Midlothian, destroying 15 motorcycles and causing damage of around £50,000.

The business was just one of two Royal Enfield franchises in Scotland, sold Watsonian sidecars and second hand bikes, and had been operating as an independent, satellite Ducati Service Centre on behalf of Ducati Glasgow, although there was no connection between the two businesses.

A not guilty plea to attempting to embezzle £115,000 from Allianz insurance company and to embezzling £19,500 from two customers and providing a false statement to police were all accepted by the Crown.

Prosecutor Mark Keane told the court the industrial estate unit was the business of Ian Murray Motorcycles and the two-level property was “full of motorcycles” at the time of the blaze.

Mr Keane said the fire service was notified of smoke pouring from the roof of the building at about 7.30pm on 22 October, 2017.

“The fire brigade opened the wooden door at the front and found the fire on an upper level. An investigation was carried out and two motorcycles were found on their side with their fuel caps removed and this had been the cause of the fire.

“It had been deliberately set on fire with wood lying next to them [the bikes].”

The court was told Murray was alerted and attended his business at about 10.15pm. He said he had been at the unit earlier that evening and that when he locked up everything was fine.

But after viewing CCTV, police spotted Murray, of St Albans Road, Edinburgh, leaving and locking the business just two minutes before smoke was seen to come from the roof.

The two seats of fire were said to have come from a BMW and a Yamaha motorbikes which had been left on their side.

Murray subsequently contacted his insurance company and the estimated damage was said to around £50,000.

Defender solicitor Nigel Bruce said he would reserve all mitigation to the sentencing diet.

Sheriff Michael O’Grady QC deferred sentence for the preparation of reports to 3 April.

Murray pleaded guilty to wilfully setting fire to a motorcycle whereby numerous bikes were damaged and the roof and walls of the building were damaged at Unit 5 Dryden Place, Bilston Glen Industrial Estate, Loanhead, Midlothian, on 22 October 22, 2017.