Published: 13:07, 25 April 2018
| Updated: 14:25, 25 April 2018
An arsonist who endangered lives and caused damage to flats in Chatham has been locked up for more then four years.
Simon Cuthbert, 54, is believed to have used lighter fluid to set fire to a storage area in the basement of the building in Boundary Road in August 2017.
Everyone who lived there, including Cuthbert, were forced out of the building because of the blaze and firefighters wer called out to put out flames, luckily no one was injured.
Cuthbert, pictured, as reported to have been acting suspiciously in the area moments before the fire and was seen leaving the basement seconds before the smoke alarm sounded.
When interviewed, he claimed he had visited the basement to use the bathroom, but later said he had been searching for a vacuum cleaner.
A large collection of disposable lighters and an aerosol can of lighter gas were also found in his room, and a sofa had to be removed from the property due to it being doused with lighter fluid.
Cuthbert, now of no fixed address, was jailed for four-and-a-half years at Maidstone Crown Court on Tuesday, April 24.
He pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life or being reckless as to whether lives were endangered.
DC Phil Pead who investigated the incident thinks the Cuthbert deserved the sentence he got.
He said: "Although there were no injuries and the damage was minimal, the circumstances could have been very different if the fire had been allowed to take hold.
"In starting the fire Cuthbert was endangering the lives of everyone living at the address including his own.
"It was a reckless and dangerous decision, and one that fully deserves a period in prison."
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