Duns man jailed for two years after Co-op fire

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A Duns man has been jailed for two years after he admitted starting a fire at the town’s Co-op supermarket.

Robert Stewart, 43, committed the offence in September last year.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard this week how police spotted 20ft (6m)-high flames and went to help evacuate the area.

The court was told police officers had seen the fire and had gone to help take nearby residents to safety.

While there, they received a call from the control room telling them a man had contacted them from the police telephone outside the station, admitting he had started the fire and that he would wait for the officers to return.

Defence solicitor, Briony Cruden, said her client had expressed remorse for his actions and his lack of consideration for the emergency services.

She also said Stewart had a history of psychiatric disorders.

Sheriff Donald Corke told Stewart he was also imposing a 12-month supervised release order to protect the public.

The court heard that the operation of the Co-op had not been affected by the fire, but it had cost the company about £4,000 for the clean-up.