Meth dealer cops $800 fine for lighting fires

24th March 2017 5:00 AM

A MOUNT Coolum man who has been fined $800 for lighting two fires at Mount Coolum and Yaroomba last year is serving a four-year prison sentence for dealing drugs.

The fires, which damaged property at the Mount Coolum IGA and bushland in the sand dunes at Yaroomba, were two of at least 18 suspicious fire being investigated by police between Marcoola and Coolum.

Joel James Garland, 31, on Wednesday pleaded guilty to lighting two unauthorised fires on October 21 and November 6 last year.

Court documents revealed Garland told police he had not intentionally lit the fires.

He said he was smoking a cigarette when cut through the carpark behind the shops on Suncoast Beach Dr with a friend in the early hours of October 21, and threw it into an industrial bin behind the IGA and left.

A fire broke out in the bin, damaging it, an adjacent bin and a nearby fence.

Just over two weeks later, Garland told police, he had been camping in bushland at a beach access near Palmer Coolum Resort at Yaroomba.

He and a friend lit a camp fire and woke to find the fire had spread through scrub. A 5sqm area was burned.

Earlier this month Garland was sentenced to four years prison for trafficking meth.

He will be eligible to apply for parole in June 2018.