A REDDITCH man who set fire to a terraced house has been jailed for three years and nine months at Worcester Crown Court.
29-year-old David Hyettt, of Aldington Close, Redditch, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether property or lives would be at risk.
His barrister, Charles Hamer, described the fire in February last year as "a burglary that went wrong".
Hyett and another man had gone to the house, the middle of three, in Dilwyn Close, Matchborough, intending to break in, said Anthony Potter, prosecuting.
It belonged to Joseph Scrivens but the tenants had gone on holiday.
An attempt was first made to open the kitchen window with a chisel.
Then a blow torch was used to try and melt the frame.
Eventually the would-be intruders found a can in the garden, filled it with petrol and set it alight.
The inevitable result was a loud explosion.
Neighbour Elaine Frampton heard "a loud bang" and joined by Ben Cross, another resident, and started to fight the fire before the fire service arrived.
A bunch of keys was found in the garden which enabled police to trace Hyett.
He was arrested five days later.
Thousands of pounds damage was caused to the house.
Mr Potter commended the two neighbours for their efforts trying to contain the fire.
The court was told that Hyett had more than 40 court appearances, beginning in 1999 when he was 14.
He also asked for handling a stolen watch to be taken into consideration.
Mr Hamer said that Hyett had not taken the petrol on his burglary excursion.
He had calmed down after being in prison and being treated for ADHD.
Judge Michael Cullum said he had received a letter from Hyett which expressed genuine remorse.
But the fact was that he had run away leaving the neighbours to fight the fire.