A firestarter who jammed a handful of business cards in to the petrol filling cap of a stolen van before setting it alight has been jailed for almost two years.
Darren Walker came to the aid of a fellow crook who had stolen the specially-modified £12,000 mobile tyre-fitting vehicle from a garage in Dundee’s East Dock Street.
The other man only managed to drive it a few hundred yards to nearby Broughty Ferry Road when he crashed it.
Walker and his compatriot were unable to get it to start so decided to torch it.
The ensuing inferno completely destroyed the vehicle and was described by residents as “an enormous fire”.
Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told Dundee Sheriff Court: “Residents heard the van crash and saw the accused and the other man trying to restart it.
“They tried to push it off the road and move it for around 10 minutes.
“They then became aware that the van was on fire and saw the accused jogging away.
“Police and the fire brigade attended and the fire was brought under control.
“Fire investigators found there were two seats of the fire.
“One was in the cab, and the other was in the petrol filler cap.
“Business cards had been pushed in to the petrol cap and set alight.
“The accused was detained later and found with a lighter in his pocket.
“When detained he said ‘that’s bulls***’.
“The van was completely destroyed and valued at around £12,000 by its owner.
“The other man involved in this incident was also charged and subsequently jailed for 30 months last year.
“The accused was also in court that day and due to plead guilty but didn’t come back to court after lunch when his case called.
“A warrant was then granted and he was arrested on that in February this year.”
Walker, 33, a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to charges of wilful fireraising and failing to attend an earlier court hearing.
His not guilty pleas to two charges of theft and one of attempting to pervert the course of justice were accepted by the Crown.
Defence solicitor Grant Bruce said that Walker is currently serving a 40 month jail sentence imposed in Wales for a crime committed weeks after the fireraising.
He said: “He has very little recollection of the offence or why he became involved.
“He has an unenviable record of offending.”
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael imposed a sentence of 727 days imprisonment on Walker.