A man has been jailed for arson with intent to endanger life following an incident on a forecourt in Waltham Abbey.
Paul Crick, 43, of Hookfield, Harlow was seen to walk across the forecourt of a Tesco petrol station in Sewardstone Road at around 5.40pm on Saturday, April 22.
He then placed a bottle of what was believed to be alcohol on the floor and set alight to a piece of paper that was placed inside the top of the open bottle. He put the bottle between fire extinguishers and a sand store box, which would be required to put out any fires quickly. It was also placed directly under the emergency cut off button for the petrol pumps.
Crick then walked off the forecourt and away from the bottle. A member of staff was alerted and quickly put the flames out by drenching it with water.
Officers were called and arrested Crick on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. The fire service also attended to ensure the area was safe and to examine the contents of the bottle. This was later confirmed to be paraffin and another flammable liquid, which if ignited properly, would have extended to the petrol pumps causing serious damage and harm to the public.
Crick was charged with attempting to cause arson with intent to endanger life, damaging property and being reckless as to whether life is endangered, on Saturday, April 22 and was remanded in custody.
He was found guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court on Thursday, November 9, and was sentenced to three years and 10 months in prison.