Jumping castle operator is accused of setting fire to dozens of his competitors’ inflatable attractions causing $2MILLION in damage
- James Balcome accused of hiring men to set fire to five of his rival businesses
- During fires, $2million of damage was made and dozens of jumping castles burnt
- He is wanted in relation to ten counts of arson but is feared to have left Victoria
James Balcombe, 54, (pictured) is wanted by police after he allegedly hired two men to set the rival companies alight in Victoria, between December 2016 and February 2017
A jumping castle operator has been accused of setting fire to five of his competitors’ businesses, causing more than $2million in damage.
James Balcombe, 54, is wanted by police after he allegedly hired two men to set the rival companies’ jumping castles alight in Victoria, between December 2016 and February 2017.
Dozens of jumping castles, a limousine and mechanical bull were all destroyed in the blaze.
Balcombe, who owns Awesome Party Hire, failed to appear at Melbourne Court last week in relation to ten counts of arson with police fearing he may have left the state.
The businesses damaged in the inferno were in Werribee, Hallam, Tullamarine, Keysborough and Warragul.
Craig Anderson and Peter George Smith, who were involved in the fires, both pleaded guilty.
Anderson was sentenced to 11 years behind bars but this was reduced after an appeal to eight years and six months, The Herald Sun reported.
Smith was sentenced to three years and six months jail but was reduced to two years and four months.
Balcombe has also been accused of setting fire to one of his sheds on his Kangaroo Ground property to avoid suspicion, during March in 2017.
He also failed to appear at court in May and December last year.
Victoria Police are now appealing to the public to locate the 54-year-old.
Police have said he is known to frequent the Mernda and Eltham areas.
During the inferno, dozens of jumping castles were destroyed along with a mechanical bull and a limousine (file image of jumping castle)