Great Yarmouth man set fire to flat to get rehomed

A vulnerable man started a fire in his Great Yarmouth flat in the hope of getting rehoused by the council, a court heard.

Marcus Watson, 21, had started a fire accidentally earlier in the evening at his flat in South Quay which gave him the idea of setting fire to a pet bed hoping it would cause more damage so he could get a housing move as he was having problems with neighbours, Norwich Crown Court was told.

Nick Methold, prosecuting, said that when firefighters arrived the second time the fire was already out but there was a lot of smoke and damage which cost �295 to repair. Watson admitted arson reckless as to whether life was endangered and was given an 18 month supervision order. Judge Martin Binning accepted that Watson had problems with his neighbours and was a vulnerable person and said he would treat the arson as an exceptional case. 'I'm giving you an exceptional chance so if I were you I would make the most of it.'

Danielle O'Donovan, for Watson, said he regretted what he had done but was desperate to get rehoused. She said he was having problems with neighbours which had led to him suffering from agoraphobia and depression. 'He is a vulnerable young man. He came up with the strikingly stupid idea in the hope that he could be moved from his desperate situation. It was an act of pure desperation.'