A dangerous criminal who went on an arson spree in Blackburn has been jailed following our investigation.
Callum Southworth,22, committed all the offences in the space of just over an hour on April 22, last year.
We were contacted by the fire service at 12.41am to reports three wheelie had been set alight in a short space of time, behind JYSK, at the back of Pizza Hut and in the doorway of a business in Mayson Street.
The wheelie bin belonging to a cash and carry on Dickens Street was also set on fire at 12.50am. That incident was captured on CCTV and shows Southworth, who was wearing pants with a reflective stripe at top of leg, attempt to set fire to the bin. When that failed, he set fire to items in the bin and walked away.
At 1.12am we were contacted again by the fire service who reported that they had come across a fire in Higher Audley Street. In this incident a trampoline in the garden of a property had been set alight and a pushchair had been placed up to the back door and set alight. There were adults and children in the property at the time, with the youngest being just three years old.
At 1.39am the fire service re-contacted us to say they were attending a house fire in Cambridge Street. In this incident, the wheelie bin had been set on fire outside the front of the property, close to the front door. This caused both ground floor windows to smash and the front door to catch fire. Firefighters forced entry to the property and got the lone female out. She was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation. The utility boxes on the front of the property were also damaged, leaving the victim with no gas or electricity.
Firefighters confirmed they saw the same male – now known to be Southworth – at the scene of that incident and in close vicinity of another one. They described the man as being white, around 5ft 8ins, with a black eye on his left eye. He was wearing a grey hoody and black pants.
At 1.48am a resident in Merchants Landing called to report that someone had posted a lit ballot paper through her letterbox, however this had failed to set fire to the property. PC Christopher Hamil attended the scene and viewed the victim’s CCTV footage, and identified the suspect to be Southworth.
PC Hamil located Southworth on Bennington Street wearing the same clothing as seen on the CCTV footage and described by firefighters in Cambridge Street.
Southworth, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, two arsons and one attempted arson.
Earlier this week he was sentenced to four and a half years custody, with a two-year extended licence period after a judge at Preston Crown Court deemed him to be a dangerous offender.