A JUDGE has told an arsonist to expect a custodial sentence of some length after setting fire to public toilets and returning to the scene to watch them burn.

The warning was given to 23-year-old Oliver Turiccki who doused toilet paper in lighter fluid before setting it alight in toilets at Bishop Auckland bus station.

Durham Crown Court heard that Turiccki locked the door and left the scene, returning an hour later to watch the blaze and the firefighters working to extinguish it.

Uzma Khan, prosecuting, said: "Police and fire services were called to Bishop Auckland bus station and when they arrived they saw smoke coming from within the building which was significantly damaged.

"Initially it was thought it was an accident, that a cigarette had been carelessly discarded, however that evening Mr Turiccki attended the police station and told them he was there to hand himself in because he had started a fire in the bus station.

"He stated he had gone into the toilet, taken toilet roll and placed it into the bin, doused it in lighter fluid, lit it and closed the door behind him before leaving.

"He later returned to the bus station and watched the fire fighters put the fire out. He was interviewed and said he was not aware of the risks but he had intended to start a fire."

A spokesman for Durham County Council said in a statement that the fire caused a massive inconvenience to the community whilst the toilets were out of service.

The statement continued: "The real inconvenience is in relation to costs which will be paid by the council but ultimately fall back to the public through council tax."

Turiccki, of no fixed abode but originally from the Peterborough area, pleaded guilty to one count of arson on March 5, 2018.

Anthony Kornberg, mitigating, said his client suffered from ADHD, for which he was medicated.

He said: "He has never done this before and he has never done it since."

Judge James Adkin said: "The problem is that he went back to the the station to watch the fire services after it had happened.

"Why did he go back to watch the fire fighters extinguish the fire?"

Mr Kornberg said Turiccki was not fascinated with fire, and only returned after seeing fire engines nearby.

He added: "He went to the police station and handed himself in. A lot of people would not have done that.

"If he had not done that would we even be here? Would he have been found out?

"It shows that he is completely unsophisticated in the criminal sense, to return to the scene to watch the devastation that he caused."

Allowing a two week adjournment for further evaluation of a psychiatric report, Judge Adkin told Turiccki: "You should expect a custodial sentence of some length in any event."

Turiccki will return to Durham Crown Court on October 1.