A MAN accused of starting a major mill fire in Bradford has told a jury he was only at the scene to film and take pictures of the blaze.

Hamza Nadeem, 19, is on trial at Bradford Crown Court for alleged arson, related to a fire that engulfed a mill on Rebecca Street on December 19 last year, causing £500,000 worth of damage.

Prosecutor Glenn Parsons has told the court that Nadeem set fire to some tyres underneath the mill building, which was home to a number of firms including solicitors YA & Co, owned by Yasmin Akhtar, which the defendant is said to have had an alleged “grievance” against.

Nadeem, who has learning difficulties, was living in a hostel on Coates Street off Manchester Road at the time of the fire.

Giving evidence yesterday, he told his barrister Simeon Evans that he had left his flat between 1.30am and 2am on the night of the blaze.

Asked if he had seen the fire, he said: “Yeah I seen that. I seen a lot of smoke in the sky. I ran to see what was going on.”

Asked why, he replied: “My interest is in fire engines. I started filming them.”

Nadeem said that after being at the scene for around 45 minutes, he was spoken to by police.

When Mr Evans asked what he had done after that, the defendant said: “I ran to Shipley. There was music in my ears.”

The jury has been told that Nadeem allegedly spoke to a support worker at the hostel, Faisal Iqbal, telling him he was going out to burn the mill down.

Asked what he had said, Nadeem said: “I said I’m going out and about. It was nothing to do with a fire. That is absolutely not true. I did not discuss burning down a solicitors with him at all.”

Nadeem confirmed that the police had spoken to him at the hostel in the days following the fire, telling the jury: “They asked where I was at the time (of the fire). I said here.”

The defendant also said he had pictures and videos on Snapchat that showed the footage he had taken of the fire, but claimed they had been deleted by police.

Asked again whether he had started the fire, Nadeem said: “I didn’t. I wasn’t around Rebecca Street at that time. There’s no DNA that links me to that place.”

The trial continues.