A TEENAGE arsonist who wreaked havoc on a Shrewsbury housing estate has been jailed for four years.

Matthew Robin Gill, 19, admitted being reckless as to whether life was endangered at Stafford Crown Court following a fire at a home in Reedham Road, Herongate, on December 1 last year.

He also admitted giving a false alarm of a fire to Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service on October 21 and will serve a further three months, plus an extra three months for breaching a community order.

Det Sgt Andy Chatting said Gill’s actions put lives at risk and welcomed his imprisonment.

He said: “The offence in Reedham Road was particularly appalling as Gill deliberately set fire to an occupied property containing a young couple and their baby boy.

“What started out as fires involving wheelie bins, progressed to material being set alight in and around empty properties.

“Herongate is a quiet, low-crime area and these incidents caused real alarm to residents who were understandably fearful of what was going on.”

Gill, who lived on the Herongate estate, was arrested in December and charged with two offences relating to the fires.

He was remanded in custody and pleaded guilty to both offences at an earlier court appearance.

DS Chatting said: “I hope the outcome in court will reassure the residents who were genuinely in fear for the safety of themselves and their homes.

“It was an extremely difficult case which took the combined working of CID, local policing officers and response teams working jointly with the fire service and with support from the local community, to bring the matter to a successful conclusion.”

John Das Gupta, head of fire prevention at Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service, added: “This case proves how important it is to have a smoke alarm which was responsible for alerting residents to one of the fires. We will not tolerate people using fire as a weapon.”

Call the fire prevention department on 01743 260200 for safety advice.