Investigating officer Coffs Harbour Detective Matt Zimmer with the marijuana crop discovered in Bellingen State Forest.
Investigating officer Coffs Harbour Detective Matt Zimmer with the marijuana crop discovered in Bellingen State Forest.

Tradie jailed over arson attack and drug haul

A BITTER Bellingen tradie who hid out in Queensland after orchestrating an arson attack on his rival neighbour's 100-year-old homestead has been sentenced to more than five years jail.

Glenn Kenneth Corda was extradited from Mackay in June last year following an exhaustive police investigation into the fire at the Brierfield property.

The 48-year-old's neighbour Mark Taylor was out to dinner the night his heritage home went up in flames in December, 2011.

He suffered burns to his hands when he returned home and tried fight the blaze.

Petrol was found at the scene and police were told a gold ute had been seen fleeing the area around the time of the fire.

In the months that followed there were rumours the fire had been an insurance job but Mr Taylor remained adamant an ongoing neighbourhood dispute between he and Mr Corda, who had moved to Mackay, was the likely cause.

Eventually detectives discovered Corda had paid two teenagers $500 each to break into the property, douse the home in petrol and set it alight.

Phone taps later revealed Corda also had crops of marijuana plants growing in the nearby state forest.

Soon after, investigating officers flew to Mackay with an arrest warrant.

Documents tendered in the Mackay Magistrates Court described Corda as the "mastermind" of the arson attack and "well known stand-over man...entrenched in organised crime" and the local drug trade.

This week he fronted the Coffs Harbour District Court charged with accessory before the fact to aggravated break and enter and arson, cultivating a commercial quantity of cannabis, supplying a prohibited drug and contravening an apprehended violence order.

He was sentenced to a total of five years and six months with his earliest possible release date of June 27, 2016.

He will also undergo drug and alcohol counselling.



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