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Irishman (29) arrested after series of alleged arson incidents across Melbourne

James McArdle was picked up in Cairns on Saturday after Victoria Police issued an arrest warrant last month

Neil FetherstonhaughSunday World

A 29-year-old Irishman who had been wanted by Australian police after a series of alleged arson incidents in Melbourne has been arrested and charged.

James McArdle was picked up in Cairns on Saturday after Victoria Police issued an arrest warrant last month.

Investigators will apply for his extradition to Melbourne where he is expected to face 17 charges including seven counts of arson, unlawful assault and commit indictable offence while on bail.

McArdle will be interviewed in relation to seven further fires.

In just one of a number of offences committed last month, a man poured spirits onto a bag of aerosol cans at the entrance to a business on Mercantile Place in Melbourne at about 6.30pm on December 22.

Police had released video footage of the incident in which the suspect can be seen running from the scene.

During a press conference held before McArdle’s arrest, Detective Senior Constable Mallory Bubb described the suspect’s behaviour as “very reckless and dangerous”.

“For example, one yesterday was in the rear of a business; had anyone exited the business at that time the aerosol container that was lit on fire could have possibly been destructive to further persons or property there.”

Last month, police issued a warrant for the arrest of McArdle who is described as 180cm tall, of medium build, with brown hair. He also speaks with an Irish accent.

He has a number of tattoos, including one on his left arm which reads: “Only the strong survive”.

Police appealed to the public for help in locating McArdle (29) who is known to frequent Melbourne CBD and St Kilda.


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