A Lochaber firefighter accused of starting three wildfires denied the charges when interviewed by police, a jury heard yesterday.
Fort William Sheriff Court was shown a 40 minute film of David Mackay being grilled by police following the three blazes in the Stontian area last year.
Mackay, 40, a long-serving firefighter with Strontian fire unit, is on trial accused of three charges of wilfully starting three moorland and forest fires in his local area – on March 27, 2013, and two on April 1.
The later date was a public holiday, when crews are paid double-time for a call out.
Mackay, of 6 Dal Nan Each, Strontian, denies all of the charges.
The court heard that when suspicion fell on MacKay, a part-time retained fireman for 21 years, he was asked by village constable James Boundy, 41, to go to Fort William Police Station on April 8.
He was interviewed on camera by acting detective inspector Richard Baird, 42, and Mr Boundy in a police interview room.
MacKay, then a full-time Scottish Water van driver and technician, declined an offer to consult a lawyer.
During the interview, he admitted he was a firefighter at the three fires, which took place on Carnoch Estate, at Bellgrove Mines and in Glen Tarbert.
But he denied having anything to do with starting them.
Inspector Baird said witnesses had seen a white van parked in a layby in Glen Tarbert where that fire started.
MacKay said he was on day-off that day and had gone for a run into Glen Tarbert “to kill time”.
He said he turned in his van in the layby before heading back to Strontian.
However he said he had not started the fire and there was nobody in the van with him.
The detective man told him: “I need more than your word.”
Mackay agreed he got between £12 and £18 an hour for fire-fighting during a public holiday.
But he denied he was in any money troubles and there was no need to try and promote Strontian fire brigade because it was not in danger of closing down.
Inspector Baird said in evidence to the court that he and colleagues went on to investigate the other two fires.
He said MacKay’s van had a tracking device and it was linked to being at the source of the start of all three fires.
The trial is expected to end today.