Some readers will be aware of the recent arson attack on a bird hide located in Forest Farm. Although this is not in Radyr and Morganstown, it is an area enjoyed by members of our community. It is a nice place for a walk, where residents can enjoy nature and wildlife in a semi-urban setting.
It is a great pity that some people think that setting fire to a community resource is something that they should do. It is hard to understand their motivation - and difficult to believe that they have much respect for their community and neighbours. They must also have no concern about causing upset and distress to people they don't know, by burning to the ground a facility that many people enjoy - which was built by voluntary effort.
They may also be unaware of the penalties they could face, if caught. These are set out in the Sentencing Council's Sentencing Guidelines. A fire such as this one, causing moderate damage to a public amenity, can result in a prison sentence ranging from 6 to 26 weeks. You can read the guidelines here.
Similar sentences exist for criminal damage. The guidelines for this include community orders, which can include up to 300 hours of unpaid work - whilst being under supervision by the Probation Service for twelve months. More serious criminal damage (where the damage was to property worth more than £5,000) can also result in a prison sentence ranging from 6 to 26 weeks. You can read the criminal damage guidelines here.
Any criminal record has to be disclosed to employers and potential employers - and some jobs, such as locksmith, lawyer and teacher, require a criminal record check. The ‘standard’ and ‘enhanced’ criminal record check will show an employer your past crimes, even if they’re spent. If you’re not suitable for a job because of a spent conviction or caution, the employer can withdraw a job offer. You can read more about this here.
Anyone with any information about this incident should contact the police.
What is a bird hide? A bird hide is a shelter, often camouflaged, that is used to observe wildlife, especially birds, at close quarters.