A DRUG addict who torched his Widnes home in an attempted suicide bid put the lives of his neighbour and firefighters at risk, warned a judge.

Michael Craig, aged 30, admitted committing arson recklessly at his first floor flat in Derby Road.

Jailing him for four years at Warrington Crown Court on Friday, Judge Nick Woodward said: “The fire had the potential to spread to adjoining premises. Your neighbour only escaped because a member of the public alerted him.

“You risked the lives of both your neighbour and firefighters.”

Four fire appliances tackled the blaze at around 10pm on December 13, last year.

Firefighters used a sledgehammer to break into Craig’s blazing flat.

Prosecutor Benjamin Lawrence said: “The flat was full of thick dense smoke. Furniture had been piled into a bonfire in the centre of the room.”

Three lighters were found.

He said Craig was on the roof threatening to jump.

A police officer eventually persuaded him to come down.

Mr Lawrence added: “The damage is estimated between £25,000 to £30,000 as well as the loss of rent to the landlord.”

When interviewed, Craig told detectives he had taken heroine at 8pm that evening and felt depressed.

The court heard he had 17 previous convictions for 41 offences.

Defending, Simon Christie said:”This young man was trying to take his own life. In doing so, he stupidly risked the safety of other people and the fire brigade. It is very dangerous and very serious.

“He was in a very low spirit. His family has done their best. It is a very unhappy picture.

“When he comes out of prison he will have difficulty obtaining accommodation.”