Coffs man to fight fraud charge

A COFFS Harbour man is accused of deliberately setting fire to a property he owned in an attempt to cash in on an insurance policy.

The case against Paul Hay is this week being heard before a magistrate in a five-day local court hearing.

Crown prosecutors will seek to prove that Hay last year planted a home-made ignition device under the house in Bennetts Road, Coffs Harbour, before catching a plane to Sydney.

It’s alleged the time delay device used to ignite the fire, comprised a mosquito coil, a sparkler and citronella oil.

Fire crews were called to the house fire on the evening of February 2 where they found the kitchen and laundry of the home well alight.

During investigations into the blaze it was noted that several items were allegedly placed above the ignition point, which may have assisted the flames to spread.

Hay was out of town when the fire was reported to authorities.

Upon returning to Coffs Harbour, he was questioned by detectives over suspicions that the house fire had been deliberately lit.

Arrested and charged by Coffs Harbour detectives, he is this week seeking to clear his name on a charge of dishonestly for gain damage property by fire/explosion.

The police allegations against Hay centre on the fact that he stood to gain a sizeable home and contents insurance payout.

Witnesses are set down to give evidence in the case before Magistrate O’Brien. The hearing continues today.

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