Arsonist jailed for Gwalchmai surgery fire

North Wales Police

A prolific criminal from Holyhead has been jailed for an arson attack at a GP’s surgery.

Sion Griffiths admitted breaking into the practice in Gwalchmai and tried to cover his tracks by setting fire to the building in May. Medical records were destroyed in the fire, which cost the NHS £7,000.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard Griffiths, a patient who lived in nearby Maes Meurig at the time, was upset because he had been denied diazepam as medication for his insomnia.

He broke in overnight by smashing a window – it caused him to bleed and he started the fire in the manager’s room to hide the evidence.

The GP, Dr Richard Keating, was alerted by an intruder alarm system and found the defendant hiding behind a car as he neared the surgery. He had to put out the fire using a hose from a nearby neighbour.

The power had also been cut to a fridge where immunisation drugs were kept – as a result of the fire, they were unusable. Two boxes of medication were found outside and more boxes of diazepam were found to have been stolen.

The defence said Griffiths had craved the medication he sought but had been told he would not be given any medicine and advised to take more exercise.

He had never recovered from losing his father when he was four years old and his stepfather and two friends when he was a teenager. The arson was described as a ”comedy of errors” for which he was ”ashamed and profoundly remorseful”.

Griffiths, who had 29 previous convictions – including two house fires, arson to a tractor and criminal damage at another surgery, was sentenced to two years and four months in prison.

After sentencing, DC Matt Corkish from Bangor CID said: ”Griffiths is a prolific offender with a track record of both burglary and arson and so today’s sentence is significant for both his latest victims and the communities of Anglesey.”

”Fortunately, crimes of this nature are rare in the area and together with our local communities we must ensure it remains so. However we can’t tackle this problem alone and key to all our work, and that of our partners,  is intelligence and I cannot emphasise enough the importance of sharing concerns with us remaining vigilant and report any suspicious activity immediately.”