A north-east man endangered the lives of dozens of people by starting a fire inside a block of flats in a cocaine-fuelled revenge attack.
Scott Thomson “sneaked” into the building on Wales Street in Aberdeen wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses, carrying armfuls of wood and paper.
He then set fire to the front door of a man he had had a “verbal altercation” with.
The 23-year-old caused £1,000 worth of damage to the property but, when he was sent to prison for 18 months at Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday, he was told that his reckless conduct “could have had far more severe consequences”.
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Fiscal Jamie Dunbar said the incident stemmed from a terse exchange between the accused and the occupant of the flat on April 19.
He added: “At the time, the occupant had been having problems with neighbours from another flat who are friends of the accused, and was involved in a passing verbal altercation with Thomson.
“At 6am the complainer was awoken by his smoke alarm, and saw smoke within his flat and flames at the door.
“His neighbours helped him to extinguish it by the time firefighters arrived.”
The court heard that the block of council housing contains 27 flats across three floors, and a senior firefighter observed that the blaze started at the letterbox and rose to the top of the door.
Mr Dunbar said: “Paper and wood had been put through the letterbox and set alight, fire crews advised that had it taken hold it could have resulted in a significant fire.”
CCTV showed Thomson entering “minutes before” the fire was started and leaving 10 minutes later “in a hurried fashion”.
The accused, of Gillespie Place in Aberdeen, later admitted a charge of wilful fire-raising.
Defence agent Peter Shepherd said his client had taken cocaine at the time but had since sworn off drugs and was acting as his mother’s carer.
Sheriff Graham Buchanan said: “The consequences could have been far more severe, what you did by sneaking in there is pretty much unforgivable.
“It is so serious that there is no alternative to a custodial sentence.”