A 58-YEAR-old woman who found herself locked out when she returned home after a drinking binge set fire to the garage.

Blackburn magistrates heard, when firefighters arrived, they found Jean Anne Dean suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

But the investigating officer also found the fire had been deliberately started.

Dean, of Preston Old Road, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether property would be destroyed. She was remanded on bail for the preparation of a pre-sentence report.

Philippa White, prosecuting, said Dean had been in a relationship with Joseph Gibbons for eight years and he was the tenant of the house in Preston Old Road which they shared.

He described her as a binge drinker and on the night of the incident, they had gone out separately. He returned home and locked the doors before going to bed.

Mrs White said: “When she did return home and couldn’t get in she went into the garage and by some means has started this fire. She actually called the fire brigade and made efforts to remove some of the property from the burning garage.

“The officer who investigated the fire said paint stripper had been used as an accelerant and said the fire was non-accidental.”

When she was interviewed, Dean accepted she had started the fire but wasn’t sure how.

Jonathan Taylor, defending said: “She doesn’t know if she knocked over the paint stripper,” said Mr Taylor. “All she recalls is discarding her cigarette and then all of a sudden there were flames.”