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Man jailed for phone mast arson attack linked to coronavirus conspiracy theories

Jasper Hart
June 9, 2020

Michael Whitty read discussions on the internet linking the technology to the virus

A man has been jailed for an attack on a telephone mast after he thought that 5G was linked to coronavirus.

Michael Whitty, 47, set fire to the Vodafone mast in Kirkby on April 4. He has been sentenced to three years in jail.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that he carried out the act after reading internet claims about the virus. Police analysis of his phone revealed searches for 5G technology, and photos and videos of other masts around Liverpool.

Whitty’s attack was one of 13 on phone masts on Merseyside in recent months. His defence acknowledged that his response was “wrong and disproportionate”.

Commenting on the sentencing, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service group manager Ben Ryder said: “This is a clear message to those who would put firefighters and the public at risk by setting fire to phone masts – your actions have very real consequences for you.

“There is no scientific evidence of any link between 5G and coronavirus. Arson is a very serious crime and we will always work with our Police colleagues to seek justice.”

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