A man who set light to a van on a petrol forecourt while the driver and passenger were inside has been sentenced to five years in jail.

Thirty five year old Russell Graham Osborne from Waiblingen Way in Devizes appeared at Winchester Crown Court last Friday, 3rd January, where he was sentenced for arson with intent to endanger life.

Police were originally called to the Esso garage on Bath Road, Devizes, Wiltshire, shortly after 7pm on Friday 26th July 2013, after reports of a van deliberately being set on fire. The fire brigade also attended but the occupants of the van, two men in their twenties, were able to extinguish the flames.

Following enquiries and with the help of both the police helicopter and dog handlers, Russell Osborne was arrested shortly before midnight on 30th July.

Sector inspector for Devizes Matt Armstrong said: “This was a completely reckless crime that could have easily ended with people being very seriously injured or even worse.

“It wasn’t just those targeted at risk but due to the location it could have had a much wider and more devastating affect.

“Fortunately through good detective work we were able to identify, locate and arrest Russell Osborne and ensure a successful prosecution.”