An arsonist has been jailed for six years after he petrol bombed a fish and chip shop.

Lubos Filek was engulfed in flames himself and suffered severe burns to his hands as he fled from Abbey Fisheries in Gowthorpe, Selby town centre.

York Press:

The shop’s ground floor was gutted and the chippie had to close for 14 weeks as a result of his actions in the early hours of March 21, York Crown Court heard.

Judge Simon Hickey told Filek: “Those who engage in such serious criminal activities must of course bear the consequences. You knew exactly what you were doing.”

Quoting a statement by the shop’s owner, the judge said the repairs would cost more than £100,000 and the shop had lost £63,000 in takings.

Filek told his solicitor advocate Graham Parkin he had started the fire at the request of a loan shark to whom he owed £2,000.

Filek, 40, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

He was jailed for five years and eight months for the arson, plus a four-month prison sentence for carrying a knife and shoplifting, which had been suspended a month before the fire-bombing.

“I am entitled to deter anyone else minded to take the law into their hands in this way,” the judge said.

Julian Goode, prosecuting, said the shop was in a line of terraced shops, some of which had living accommodation above them.

The nearest occupant was sleeping three doors away when Filek threw two bricks through the shop’s front window, followed by five litres of petrol in a can which he lit with a lighter.

A taxi driver had seen Filek reconnoitring the shop several evenings in the days leading up to the fire.

York Press:

Filek, despite severe burns to his hands, didn’t get medical help until the police took him to hospital after arrest.

Mr Parkin said Filek’s fiancée had been taken to hospital four days before the arson and had had to undergo spinal surgery.

He had not been thinking straight because he had feared she would die. He also had a mild mental disorder and had been using drugs and alcohol to cope with the break-up of a previous relationship and the loss of his job and his accommodation.

Filek, who has a previous conviction for having an imitation firearm in a Selby pub in 2015, has been in the UK since 2006. He followed court proceedings through a Slovak interpreter.

Speaking after the hearing, Det Con Peter Smith, who led the investigation by York CID, said: “The huge blaze started by Filek could have caused untold damage to innocent people and neighbouring buildings. It’s surprising nobody was seriously hurt or killed.

“The fire spread very quickly – so quickly in fact that it appears to have caught Filek totally by surprise as he ignited himself along with the building.

“Thankfully, we were able to identify and track down this offender very quickly and we’re grateful for information provided to us by members of the Selby community.

“Filek never explained why he did it or gave any reason for his actions, but that didn’t stop us building a case against him that has resulted in a significant prison sentence today. North Yorkshire is safer when criminals like him are behind bars.”