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Bankrupt St Austell man ‘torches recovery firm’s truck’

A bankrupt man allegedly set fire to the removal lorry trying to take his possessions away in a desperate bid to stall the recovery.

The 65-year-old is said to have turned up to his repossessed home in St Austell carrying a can of petrol before exploding into a ‘fit of rage’ at workers.

The man, who has been named locally as John Leslie Cartwright, allegedly poured fuel all over his own belongings before torching the £35,000 truck.

It set off a major blaze with clouds of smoke visible down the quiet residential street as the vehicle smouldered.

Shocking pictures taken on Thursday afternoon show firefighters putting out the inferno as well as the mangled wreckage of the lorry.

Police confirmed to MailOnline that a 65-year-old man had been arrested for arson. 

The 65-year-old is said to have turned up to his repossessed home in St Austell carrying a can of petrol before exploding into a ‘fit of rage’ at workers

The managing director of Movecorp, the company that owns the van, said his four staff had been left ‘shocked’ by the incident and had been given a day off to recover.

His firm had been contracted to take the man’s repossessed belongings away from his house after he was declared bankrupt approximately one year ago. 

James Tennant, 42, told MailOnline:  ‘We’re a removal company and we get various different types of instructions for removal of goods.

‘This one was for a client acting on behalf of the trustees in a bankruptcy.

‘The house had been repossessed, and our job was to clear the property of all the goods.

‘The crews arrived there to commence the job and the owner came to the property.

‘He wasn’t too happy and went into a bit of a rage. Our crew members are pretty shocked and they don’t want to talk about it.

The man, who has been named locally as John Leslie Cartwright, allegedly poured fuel all over his own belongings before torching the £35,000 truck

The man, who has been named locally as John Leslie Cartwright, allegedly poured fuel all over his own belongings before torching the £35,000 truck

Shocking pictures taken on Thursday afternoon show firefighters putting out the inferno as well as the mangled wreckage of the lorry

Shocking pictures taken on Thursday afternoon show firefighters putting out the inferno as well as the mangled wreckage of the lorry

‘He then proceeded to pour petrol all over the van and inside before setting light to it.

‘It happened that quick that they were in shock, so they called the fire brigade.

‘There were clouds of smoke all down the road, the neighbours were out and there were actually kids actually playing in gardens at the time.

‘He set fire to the van and then waited there until the police came. The truck is worth about £35,000 and it’s a complete write-off.

‘He just sort of came from nowhere. He started off with a barrage of abuse and proceeded to throw the petrol.

‘Towards the end once the fire brigade had been he actually apologised to the crew that were there.

‘I think it was one of those spur of the moment things where he lost it.

The managing director of Movecorp , the company that owns the van, said his four staff had been left 'shocked' by the incident and had been given a day off to recover

The managing director of Movecorp , the company that owns the van, said his four staff had been left ‘shocked’ by the incident and had been given a day off to recover

The man who poured petrol on the truck has been named locally as John Leslie Cartwright, pictured

The man who poured petrol on the truck has been named locally as John Leslie Cartwright, pictured

‘We do a lot of these kind of jobs and it’s the first time the van’s been doused in petrol.

‘We’ve had similar incidents where we’ve had protestors and people have smashed our windows or slashed our tyres.

‘It is difficult to deal with but our staff are trained in many different ways.

‘They’re just shocked really – luckily they’re not from the local area so they won’t have to deal with any local repercussions.’

A Devon and Cornwall police spokesman told MailOnline: ‘Officers arrested a 65-year-old man on the scene on suspicion of arson.

‘We turned up at 1.30pm in conjunction with the fire service.’

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