A chronic alcoholic who started two fires in his flat In Great Yarmouth causing other residents to be evacuated from the block of flats has been jailed for four years.

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Lance Meikle, 36, started the first fire in the kitchen area of his flat in Wellesley Road, which was soon put out when emergency services attended but just two hours later he started another fire, setting light to his mattress and then called the fire crew himself, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said that the damage was restricted to Meikle’s flat but on both occasions other residents in the flat complex had to be evacuated, including a disabled resident.

Mr Youell said that this resident, who found it difficult to move around, said that she would have had problems if the fire had caught hold.

Meikle admitted two counts of arson reckless as to whether life was endangered, in May this year.

The court heard that Meikle was depressed and wanted to take his own life at the time he started the fires.

Jailing him for four years Judge Anthony Bate said he accepted that Meikle was depressed and had been on a “three-day bender” drinking alcohol when he started the fires but said that on both occasions other residents living nearby had to be evacuated.

He said that he accepted that his first thought was to take his own life but he had put others at risk.

Judge Bate said that while in custody Meikle could get help for his long-standing drink problem

Ross Burrows, for Meikle said there was minimal damage caused by the fires.

He is someone who was extremely depressed and in need of help.”

He added: “He just wanted to take his own life and did not think about the consequences to others around him.”

He said that he had been on a “three-day long alcoholic bender” when he committed the offences,

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