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South Shields hoaxster with ‘unhealthy interest’ in fire service spared jail

Keith Parkin, leaving South Tyneside Magistrates Court
Keith Parkin, leaving South Tyneside Magistrates Court

A man with an ‘unhealthy interest’ in the fire service who sparked an emergency response after making a hoax call over a fake factory blaze has been spared jail.

Keith Parkin, who has a mental age of ten and suffers from impulsive disorder, called 999 to report a fire near Felling Metro station.

But when a fire crew turned up they were greeted at the scene by Parkin – and quickly discovered there had been no fire.

Fire chiefs reported the matter as a malicious call and the 29-year-old was arrested.

Parkin, who is from South Shields but is currently living in a probation hostel in Newcastle, was given a suspended sentence in April 2014 for making a string of hoax calls to the fire service.

He then received a community order in June after sending a naked picture of himself to a woman on Facebook.

Earlier this month, he was given another community order after admitting groping a woman.

His parents Colin and Linda Parkin told the Gazette their son required round-the-clock support due to his mental health issues.

Parkin admitted making a false call to the fire service and was sentenced at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Magistrates decided not to send him to prison over his latest conviction – but warned him he could be locked up if he offends again.

Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said: “Keith Robinson, temporary crew manager for Green Watch at Washington fire station, said a call was received at 10.20pm on Wednesday, July 10, claiming there was a fire near to Felling Metro Station.

“He arrived with a crew at 10.30pm, where they were met by Parkin. Mr Robinson said he was aware of this man through previous incidents and through internal bulletins mentioning him at the fire service.

“Mr Robinson believed Parkin had an unhealthy interest in fire and the fire service.

“A search was carried out in the area which proved negative for a fire.”

Christopher Brown, defending, said: “He is getting high-level monitoring at the probation hostel to ensure his future conduct.

“A curfew is already inbuilt into his accommodation so there is no necessity for that punitive requirement from the court.”

Irene Lavender, chair woman of the magistrates, said: “You’ve been guilty of this offence before. We feel this is an ongoing sequence of events which needs to be treated seriously.”

Parkin was given a six-week prison sentence –suspended for 18 months – and must pay a criminal courts charge of £150 and a victim surcharge of £80.