North East Wales

Two men face jail after arson attack on Flintshire pub

The Running Hare pub at Ewloe, Flintshire (picture courtesy of leaderlive.co.uk)
Image caption Clinton Stephen was a former head chef, and Christopher Drake the assistant manager at the Running Hare in Ewloe

Two former members of staff at a Flintshire pub have been warned they face prison sentences after admitting an arson attack on the premises.

Clinton Stephen, 31, from Chester, Cheshire, and Christopher Drake, 21, of Wirral, admitted starting the blaze at the Running Hare, Ewloe.

An estimated £500,000 worth of damage was caused in the fire on 11 February.

At Mold Crown Court, they also admitted stealing cash from a fruit machine. Sentencing was adjourned for reports.

Stephen was the former head chef at the pub, and Drake the assistant manager.

Judge Niclas Parry told them: "You have had the good sense to plead guilty. But this is a serious matter.

"You know that you have to prepare yourselves for substantial prison sentences."

Both men also admitted stealing cash from the pub fruit machine, belonging to Marston's Brewery.

A charge of perverting the course of justice was dropped when the judge said it would be a waste of public money to have a trial, because it would only lead to concurrent sentences if they were found guilty.

That charge, which both denied, was allowed to remain in the file.

Both men were granted bail.

The £3m pub was opened on St David's Park in August 2010. It has since re-opened.

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