AN ARSONIST who put a family at risk after torching an empty house has been jailed for four years.

Faizal Hussain broke into a property in Limbrick, Shear Brow, and started a fire which spread, resulting in £10,000 damage to the unoccupied terraced house.

People living next door, including two young children - one of them a baby - were put in real danger, said a judge who handed down the custodial term.

Hussain, 21, of Randal Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to arson in connection with the incident on August 30 last year and being reckless whether life would be endangered.

Initially, the defendant had broken a window at the house and fled.

However, he returned when he thought the coast was clear and set fire to the inside.

Judge Edward Slinger told Hussain as he passed the four year term: "This is a very serious matter. Offences of this kind can result in imprisonment for life.”

After the case, detectives praised neighbours who alerted them to the fire.

Hussain was arrested at the scene, thanks to their prompt calls, police said.

Detective Constable Mark Cruise said: “If the neighbours had not been diligent enough to contact the emergency services, the fire could have resulted in potentially tragic consequences.

“Fortunately the fire was brought under control and we were able to arrest Hussain at the back of the house. A joint police and fire investigation led to the successful prosecution and I am satisfied with the sentence.”

Joe Boyd, defending, told the court it wasn't a case of Hussain having any fascination with fire.

"He seems to have been thoughtless on this occasion and not taken into account the danger to the neighbours in doing what he did.

"He didn't think through his actions. He was extremely stupid.

"He was involved with alcohol and says he has not touched it since. He has come to his senses because of the seriousness of this matter".