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Pensioner - who set block of flats alight - is jailed for arson

Credit: Kent Police

A pensioner who deliberately started a fire in a Maidstone block of flats has been jailed for more than 3 years.

James Clarke - who's 80 - caused tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage after setting light to his own home, on April 30th this year.

Firefighters evacuated the building on James Whatman Way.

It's believed Clarke started the fire on his bed Credit: Kent Police

Clarke was rescued from his third floor flat - and arrested after admitting he'd deliberately caused the fire, believed to have been started on his bed.

He was immediately recalled to prison, having breached a life licence imposed following a previous conviction in 1990 for murder.

He admitted a charge of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered at Maidstone Crown Court and was jailed for three years and four months.

The building in which Clarke lived also housed a large number of sheltered accommodation residents, mainly elderly and vulnerable people. They all had to be evacuated and Clarke’s incredibly reckless actions put their lives at risk, as well as his own.

Although no one was injured, Clarke presents a significant risk of causing serious harm and the sentence he has received is entirely appropriate."

– Detective Sergeant Neil Martin, Kent Police