Fire-raiser handed four years in prison

A Galashiels man who broke into his former girlfriend’s flat and set fire to it has been jailed for four years.

Andrew Sharp, 22, was found guilty at Selkirk Sheriff Court of wilful fire-raising and putting the lives of people living in neighbouring flats in danger.

The court heard he was upset at the break-up of his relationship with the woman, who lived in the Church Square area of Galashiels.

Sheriff Kevin Drummond branded Sharp as “a danger to the public”.

A two-day trial heard that following a drinking session with friends he armed himself with a screwdriver and said he wanted to retrieve his CDs from the flat.

One of his drinking associates, Rory Morrison, told how he left the party and went looking for Sharp.

He saw smoke coming from the property and rushed in to put out the fire and open the windows.

Later Sharp told him: “I can’t believe I did that. I should hand myself into the cops – I am sorry.”

Sharp was found guilty of breaking into the flat and wilfully setting fire to clothes and curtains.

The offences happened on January 24 – four days after he had been released from prison.

He was given four years for fire-raising and a year for the break-in, to run concurrently.