Bungling police are to cost the taxpayer R70 000, which is to be paid to a man from Elandspoort, west of Pretoria, who was accused by his neighbour of burning down his wendyhouse, but was arrested on a charge of robbery instead.

Johannes Naudé, 55, said he spent three days in a police cell before he was charged for malicious damage to property. When he appeared in court the next day, the case against him was withdrawn.

Naudé said in papers before the Pretoria High Court that he was arrested at his home on March 2, 2009 on a charge of robbery and taken to the Pretoria West police station.

This followed a complaint by his neighbour about his wendyhouse.

Naudé was detained from March 2 to March 5, when he was taken to the Pretoria Central police station and charged with malicious damage to property.

He was taken the next day to court, where the charge was withdrawn and he was told he could go home.

Naudé said he had not been involved in a robbery or any other crime and that his arrest was unlawful.

He claimed R150 000 for the anguish and trauma he suffered while incarcerated for three days.

Judge Bert Bam ordered that the police pay Naudé R70 000 as well as his legal bill. – Pretoria News