Arsonist gets two years for starting forest fire

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The Limassol Criminal Court has sentenced a 33-year-old man to two years behind bars after being found guilty of deliberately setting fires near a state forest that went up in flames.

It is one of the few jail terms for someone convicted of starting a wildfire.

In a statement, the Court said that in June, the accused set a fire at three different sites by using a lighter, in the community of Dieronas, at a distance of 1.2 km from the edges of the state forest.

Due to his actions, a total area of 570 sqm with pines and bushes was burnt to ashes.

In its decision, the Court pointed out that the crime carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence or a fine of up to €50,000.

It called for the need to have strict sentences that would act as a deterrent to protect public safety, property, and the natural environment, which plays a key role in people’s quality of life and health.

Furthermore, when a policeman and a civilian spotted the man, the 33-year-old threatened them with a knife.

He was sentenced to two months in prison for carrying a deadly weapon.

Due to the dry tinderbox conditions during summer, forest fires have become more frequent and destructive.

Cyprus witnessed its deadliest wildfire last year when four Egyptian farm labourers died.