London’s allegedly beloved senior fire safety official charged with arson at his own golf course

A 65-year-old municipal employee of the City of London is accused of arson after a fire at a golf course clubhouse meant to be used for homeless people.

Hugh Bailey began working at London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s office in 2013, according to court documents cited by British news site The Week. In 2015, he was identified as one of the headlining nominees for the British Society of Fire Safety Training Awards, an international educational conference that highlights his work in the field of emergency management.

The maximum sentence for arson is 10 years in prison and a fine of $146,800, according to the charge sheet.

Last week, the city utility company that maintains the Royal Argyll and Sutherland Scottish Golf Club issued a written warning to club members after a 3-foot high wooden framework — which is required in buildings over five stories — had been removed.

“Our investigations have confirmed this is a serious incident of vandalism and have indicated arson at the premises,” the Water UK London team wrote, according to The Week. “Due to the extensive damage, a full police investigation is now ongoing.”

A metal roof at the clubhouse was recently taken off as well, according to a letter to club members from Water UK London, which also stated that the building’s steel frame had been strengthened. Police have not linked the two incidents to the arson charge, according to the news site.

An official at Water UK London said he was not aware of Bailey’s employment history.

“We’re not making any comment about the staff who were on the staff back in 2012,” Scott Simkin told The Week. “They’re neither accused nor convicted of any crime.”

A London police spokesman confirmed in an email to The Washington Post that Bailey had been charged with arson but declined to give any additional information.

“Detectives from Bexleyheath CID are investigating after a fire was caused in a building on London Garden City Golf Club,” police said in the email. “The offences are being treated as malicious harassment and arson causing damage to the property.”

Bailey, who has been released on bail, is due to appear at Wood Green Magistrates’ Court on Feb. 22.

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