FIRE STARTER: Troy Dewsbury appeared in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday, on a number of charges.
FIRE STARTER: Troy Dewsbury appeared in the Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday, on a number of charges.

Man fined for starting fire to ward off mozzies

A MAN has been handed down fines after he started a fire during a fire emergency, to "keep the mozzies away."

Troy Phillip Dewsbury faced the Bundaberg Magistrates Court yesterday, in relation to two separate offences.

Police were called to a shelter shed in East Bundaberg, on November 12 about 1am for a separate matter, when they found a fire had been started, after a fire emergency was declared across the state and a total fire ban was issued.

The shelter shed is situated in a large concrete area with dense bushland, picnic tables and barbecues.

Mr Dewsbury used a large log measuring 2.5m in length, along with small branches and trees to start the fire.

And when police arrived at the scene, Mr Dewsbury was still in the process of placing twigs and branches onto the fire.

Mr Dewsbury told police that he was homeless, intended to sleep underneath the shelter that night and was trying to "keep the mozzies away."

Police were able to extinguish the fire, before it was able to spread but needed to use a large amount of water.

During the court proceedings, Judge Ross Woodford asked Mr Dewsbury if he was aware of the fires that had been happening throughout the country at the time.

"At the time … no, not really, no," Mr Dewsbury said.

Judge Woodford said starting the fire was a dangerous act that could have potentially placed others in danger.

On November 13 at 1.40pm, police observed a vehicle parked on the side of the road and conducted a search of the car.

A bong was located on the passenger side of the vehicle and it was confirmed that it belonged to Mr Dewsbury, who was a passenger at the time.

Mr Dewsbury was handed a $300 fine and charged with possessing drug utensils and a further $800 fine for failing to comply with fire ban restrictions during a fire emergency.

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