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Peterhead firestarter with ‘fascination’ for firefighters hung around to chat with crew

Georgij Grudin started a fire then hung around to chat with firefighters.
Georgij Grudin started a fire then hung around to chat with firefighters.

A young firestarter with an apparent “fascination” with the fire service set bins ablaze so he could badger firefighters with questions when they arrived.

Georgij Grudin torched bins at the rear of Peterhead’s Clinton Cards shop in Marischal Street last June then waited for the 999 crew to turn up.

The 20-year-old told one fireman he hadn’t started the blaze, however soon raised suspicions with his unusual line of questioning.

Clinton Cards shop in Marishcal Street, Peterhead.

Fiscal depute Sean Ambrose told Peterhead Sheriff Court: “Scottish Fire and Rescue Service received a 999 call from a mobile number belonging to the accused reporting a fire within the bins at the rear of the store.

“The caller spontaneously reported that he had not set the fire but was in possession of matches and asked whether they would be contacting his social worker.

“Thereafter crew members were mobilised from Peterhead fire station and made their way to the fire.”

Crews found two bins ablaze in Tolbooth Wynd, at the rear of the shop, and were quickly approached by Grudin, who told one firefighter: “Someone is trying to impersonate me.

“I have matches in my pocket and I have been involved in things like this previously but I am getting help from my social workers.”

Badgered firefighters with questions

The fireman became suspicious as Grudin continued to ask “probing” questions.

Grudin declared that he’d thought about moving the bins but “didn’t want to smell like smoke” before throwing a barrage of questions at him.

He asked the man how long he had been a firefighter, was he the boss, was this sort of thing common, and had this happened recently?

“The witness formed an opinion that Grudin had a fascination with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and called the police,” the fiscal added.

Police arrived shortly after the fire was extinguished and found Grudin hiding in a nearby close and acting “erratically”.

Grudin appeared at Peterhead Sheriff Court for sentencing. Picture by Scott Baxter

“He told them he had taken controlled drugs and therefore couldn’t be responsible for remembering what had happened,” the fiscal added.

“He made spontaneous comments about being responsible for various fires but not this one.

“He had a lighter and matches in his jacket pocket and gave no reason for having them.”

CCTV footage viewed by police showed him fleeing the back of Clinton Cards and heading for Broad Street before smoke started to billow from the bins as they caught ablaze.

Handed supervision order

His defence agent Marianne Milligan said Grudin had previous convictions for fire-raising.

Grudin admitted the charge of wilful fire-raising as well as theft from Cotswold’s outdoor store in Union Square, Aberdeen, in September.

Background and psychiatric reports were carried out before Sheriff Christine McCrossan handed him 175 hours of unpaid work and a two-year supervision order.

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