A LAKE District arsonist responsible for a string of fires has been sentenced to nearly 20 years in jail.

John Brown, 48, had pleaded not guilty to seven counts of arson with intent/reckless as to whether life was endangered, six counts of arson and two counts of arson with intent to endanger life.

Brown, of Windebrowe Avenue, Keswick, was found guilty and sentenced to life in jail with an 18-year tariff at Carlisle Crown Court. He will not be considered for parole for nine years.

Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Ian Harwood, said: "Brown preyed on businesses and peoples homes, not only setting fires to industrial bins but also placing them so that he caused as much damage as possible to the buildings.

Between March 22 2011 and January 1 2013 police received several reports of suspicious fires in Keswick including cars and caravans on fire, fires in town shops, blazes in bins and letters set on fire through letter boxes.

In total Brown was found guilty of 16 offences at a cost exceeding £40,000.


Detective Constable Jim Grattan, the officer in case, said: "The amount of damage and heartache that Brown caused to his victims, the sentence imposed today provides some form of justice."

DI Harwood added: "The residents on Windebrowe Aveune in Keswick were traumatised by his actions.

"The fires he started impacted on so many people and they were left feeling vulnerable and scared in their own homes.

"I would like to pay tribute to the communities of Winderbrowe Avenue and the surrounding areas of Keswick for their cooperation, support, calm and patience during these tense times, which allowed us to get on with our job.

"I would also like to recognise the crucial partnership work between Cumbria Constabulary, Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service and the Crown Prosecution Service in bringing about this successful prosecution.

"Brown posed a significant risk to public safety and the prison sentence passed ensures that he is out of the community and can no longer place peoples live and property in danger."