Revenge arson attack on Chesterfield RSPCA shop

The RSPCA shop in Market Hall, Chesterfield was recently burnt down, cleaning up and resortation is now taking place. Pictured l-r is manager Debbie Lee, her husband Gary Lee and volunteer Lesley Swift.

The RSPCA shop in Market Hall, Chesterfield was recently burnt down, cleaning up and resortation is now taking place. Pictured l-r is manager Debbie Lee, her husband Gary Lee and volunteer Lesley Swift.

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A woman suffering from mental health problems took revenge on an animal charity for taking away her pet guinea pigs by setting fire to its shop - a court has heard.

Catherine Marie Coulton, of Alexandra Road West, Brampton, had been staying at the Hartington ward of Chesterfield Royal Hospital when she snuck out in the middle of the night to set alight to the RSPCA shop, in the Market Place, Chesterfield, on February 7.

The 46-year-old pleaded guilty to arson when she appeared in Chesterfield magistrates’ court on Friday.

Gillian Foxcroft, prosecuting, said: “This fire was reported in the early hours of the morning at the RSPCA charity shop.

“The front door was found to be insecure and a small fire was found.”

She said the fire had been started using a bag of rubbish and some books that had been in the shop.

The police were alerted to the defendant’s involvement after a nurse at the Hartington unit had called informing them that Coulton had told them what she had done.

“She had admitted setting a fire at the shop,” Miss Foxcroft continued.

“This appears to be because the RSPCA had taken some guinea pigs off her.”

The fire caused damage to the shop’s flooring, books, front door and a plastic billboard outside, as well as smoke damage to the property. The shop was closed for two days as a result of the fire.

Coulton is to appear in Chesterfield magistrates’ court again for sentencing on March 27 following the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

She was granted bail on the condition that she live and sleep at Alexandra Road West, keep to a curfew between 9pm and 7am and not enter any RSPCA shop in Chesterfield.