A GERMAN hippy who lived in an abandoned building on La Palma, Canary Islands, has been handed a three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for starting a devastating forest fire with his soiled toilet paper.
The blaze ripped through almost 5,000 hectares of land last August, resulting in the death of a forest ranger and forcing the evacuation of 2,500 residents.
During his trial in Tenerife, 27-year-old Scott Verdine Stumpf admitted that he had acted “with total disregard for the most basic elements of safety and caution” after he set fire to his used toilet paper and threw it into a makeshift latrine without checking whether it was still burning.
Despite “lacking property or economic income” he has also been ordered to pay €1.87 million in damages to La Palma council, plus as yet undetermined compensation to the family of the dead ranger and four towns affected by the fire.
The verdict came after Stumpf pleaded guilty to all charges for starting one of the largest wildfires seen in the Canary Islands over the last decade.