A FALLING out, over a, “fairly inoffensive” message, resulted in a previously unconvicted man committing a robbery and arson attack on the night of his 21st birthday.

Durham Crown Court heard that Adam Spoors appeared to have “taken exception” to the Facebook posting made by his mother on his birthday, on April 7, which he asked her to remove.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said later Spoors declined to speak to his mother at his parents’ home, in Stanley.

At 12.40am on April 8 he summoned a taxi from Burnhope back to Stanley.

He was picked up at the roadside beside a car with two damaged tyres and the taxi driver noticed he was carrying a container of amber-coloured liquid.

Spoors, who smelled of alcohol and spoke with slurred speech, asked to be taken to South Moor, in Stanley.

The driver lowered his window to receive payment, but Spoors produced a large-bladed knife, putting it to his face.

Mr Dodds said the driver handed over a float bag, containing £12.50.

He managed to pull away after stalling and rang a fellow driver who alerted the police.

Spoors went to his parents’ home where he poured the accelerant onto the rear door and lit it with matches.

Mr Dodds said, fortunately, a neighbour was watching and managed to put out the fire, alerting Spoors’ parents.

Spoors was later detained nearby claiming to be innocently walking his dog.

He made no reply in interview, but was picked out by the taxi driver, following the identity procedure.

But the defendant, of Charlotte Street, Stanley, admitted charges of robbery, possessing an offensive weapon, and arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, at a plea hearing in May.

His counsel, Tony Davis, told the sentencing hearing: “There are a number of remarkable features about his behaviour that night, which is odd for someone who has had few dealings with the criminal justice system.

“He has no explanation for the robbery and what he then went on to do beggars belief, having had the argument with his parents.

“It was an offence committed in drink, an extraordinary thing to do and monumentally unsophisticated offending.”

Judge James Adkin agreed it was, “a bizarre case”, arising from, “a fall out over a fairly inoffensive social media message”.

He imposed consecutive jail terms for the two sets of offences, adding up to an overall five-year prison sentence.