A Northland man facing 10 arson charges in the Kaipara area that destroyed conservation land and a forest over the past four years has been charged over six more fires.
Andrew Lee Searle, who celebrated his 21st birthday while in jail on remand, appeared by video link on Friday before Judge John MacDonald in the Whangarei District Court and now faces a total of 16 charges.
The six new charges include that on January 18, 2016, Searle started a fire on Department of Conservation land at Turkey Flat Rd. He also faces a charge of setting fire to vegetation belonging to the Kaipara District Council on Ari Ari Rd on the same day.
And he is charged with starting a fire on DoC land in Glinks Gully on February 22, 2016.
A single storey bach was destroyed by fire on Pouto Rd, July 20, 2016, and Searle is charged with starting the blaze.
He is also charged with lighting a fire that damaged a house and vegetation on West Coast Rd, in Te Kopuru, on Christmas Eve 2016. And with lighting a fire that damaged vegetation belonging to Northland Forestry Management on January 2 this year.
Searle's lawyer, Arthur Fairley, said a hearing in September would determine how long a trial would last. Following that hearing a trial date could be set.
Searle was to remain in custody until the next hearing on September 27. The previous charges Searle faced related to a fire at Kellys Bay on January 12 this year.He was also charged with lighting fires that damaged an area protected by Department of Conservation on January 4 then again on January 7.
Also on January 7, Searle is charged with starting a fire on Toms Track, Te Kopuru, which destroyed vegetation belonging to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund. The earliest charges relate to a fire on June 5, 2014, at Toms Track.
Six months later, on December 6, police say, he was responsible for a fire at Stick Lake, near Pouto. Three charges relate to January 2015 and fires on Lighthouse Rd, Pouto, over two consecutive days. One of the fires destroyed property belonging to Global Forest Products Ltd. Searle is also charged with a fire on February 8, 2015, at Toms Track.
During the latest blaze, at Kellys Bay, Northland, two helicopters and ground crews worked by the light of a full moon to douse the scrub fire.
The fire started in native scrub after 8pm and 14 firefighters from Te Kopuru, and a crew from Dargaville fought the blaze. A team of rural firefighters remained at the site the next day to ensure there were no flare-ups.