Leicester shisha bar fire: Man denies arson charge

Shisha bar fire
Image caption Employees from the factory beneath the bar had to be evacuated

A man who told police he set fire to a rival's bar in Leicester causing damage estimated at £100,000, has denied the charges in court.

The blaze, which destroyed the Cloud Nine Shisha bar, took several hours to bring under control last October.

Leicester Crown Court heard Imtiyaz Patel, 28,previously told police he started the fire "out of spite".

Mr Patel, 28, denies one charge of arson being reckless as to whether life has been endangered.

Image caption Mr Patel also owned a shisha cafe and told police his business was not doing very well

The court heard that as the fire burnt through the rooftop shisha bar, workers in the Curzonia Knitwear factory below had to be evacuated.

The prosecution claims Mr Patel, who also ran a shisha café, started the fire.

He had been a friend of the owner of the Cloud Nine café and had visited the bar while it was being built.

The court was told that during police interviews, Mr Patel admitted starting the fire.

He told officers "it wasn't meant to be that big", that his own business "was in difficulty" and he started the fire" out of spite".

The trial continues.

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