A man has been jailed for trying to cause an explosion by setting fire to a Morrisons petrol station at Milehouse, Staffordshire, with a candle.

Michael Lawton told police he had intended to kill himself and take the road where he lived with him, after suffering abuse from nuisance neighbours.

Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard he ‘flipped’ after having his windows smashed, his car tyres let down and eggs thrown at his house.

On July 9 last year he went to the nearby forecourt with a candle and a bucket where he cut five hoses in an attempt to start a blaze.

But because it was 1.45am the petrol pumps had been shut down and he only succeeded in lighting a small fire at the base of one pump. The next morning staff found £1,250 worth of damage to the forecourt. Lawton handed himself into police four days later.

Lawton pleaded guilty to attempted arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered and was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Judge Paul Glenn told him the consequences of his actions could have been “catastrophic”, and added: “Your actions were highly dangerous. It is a matter of pure good fortune that you did not cause a significant fire.”