A man who was rescued by firefighters from his top floor flat and brought to safety down a ladder has been jailed for two-and-a-half years for starting the blaze.

The fire at Hill Court in Wrexham – a block of six flats – caused £14K damage.

After it had been repaired, a risk assessment had been carried out and Sean Edwards, 34, who suffered mental health issues, had been allowed to return to the flat.

However Mold Crown Court heard the probation service does not believe his risk can be safely managed in the community.

At an earlier hearing, Edwards admitted reckless arson at the flat belonging to the Wales and West Housing Association.

Judge Niclas Parry said Edwards set fire to a pile of rubbish in the bedroom of the flat on December 16.

All the other flats in the block were occupied at the time and sometimes there were children in some of those flats, he said.

Judge Parry said the lives of the occupants of the flats were put at risk, as were those of the firefighters who climbed a ladder to the face of the fire at the top of the building “to drag you out and save your life”.

The judge said six years earlier, after a domestic dispute, Edwards damaged a gas pipe and was waving a lighter about, shouting that he would take everyone with him.

He had been jailed for 42 months on that occasion for threatening to cause criminal damage.

Judge Parry said there were “worrying similarities” between the two matters but he had approached the case with an open mind.

Edwards suffered from a personality disorder and both pre-sentence report and psychiatric reports made it clear what his issues were.

However, there was a lack of engagement with the many agencies that wanted to help him, he failed to take his prescribed medication and continued to take illicit substances.

The report said he was aware of his behaviour when he committed the act - and of the potential consequences.

It was a very serious matter, Judge Parry said.

Barrister Jonathan Austin, prosecuting, said the occupant of a neighbouring flat raised the alarm.

Firefighters used a ladder to get to the defendant’s bedroom.

Edwards was helped out and brought to safety and he was then taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation.

Interviewed, he admitted starting the fire.

Defence barrister Oliver King said it was surprising that the probation service felt his risk could not be managed in the community.

After a short period in a mental health unit, his medication had been changed and he was stabilised.

A risk assessment had been carried out and within a matter of weeks he had been able to return to the flat, which had been repaired.

He had been living at the flat without any issues since.

There had been a problem with his old medication.

It had been changed and he was doing well.

He had family support and his mother attended the flat daily to ensure he took his medication in the right doses.

Mr King said his client was at the time “in a bad place” but was in a much better place now.

The reality was that if he was sent into custody then he would lose the flat and he would be back to square one on his release, he said.

But Judge Parry said the main concern was that  Edwards did not take his medication and might do the same again.

He had an issue with illicit substances, he had caused significant damage and the other flats were occupied at the time of the fire.