A TENANT caused fire damage to his council-owned Kendal flat while cooking without electricity while a smoke detector was covered.

As a result of his reckless criminal acts, during the course of more than four months last year, Jeffrey Hayton was brought before a judge and is now facing sentence.

Hayton, aged 55, admitted one charge of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered, when he appeared at Carlisle Crown Court.

The offence is said to have been committed between May 29 and October 1, 2020, when, without lawful excuse, he damaged by fire a flat at New Road in Kendal belonging to South Lakeland District Council.

Although the case against Hayton was not formally opened, some details did emerge during a short hearing.

Prosecutor Brendan Burke revealed during a brief address to the judge, Recorder Ciaran Rankin: “It is accepted he was living in distressed circumstances and lighting fires to cook.”

Hayton’s lawyer, Chris Evans, gave some more background detail to the judge.

“The damage to the flat was caused recklessly rather intentionally,” said Mr Evans. “As a consequence, life could have been endangered if the flat had caught fire, particularly when the smoke detector was covered up.

“He was, essentially, cooking in his flat because he didn’t have electricity. Even a relatively cursory view view of the video (showing the accommodation) that was taken would suggest he was living in rather unusual circumstances.”

Mr Evans asked that sentencing be postponed pending the preparation of two background reports: one by a psychiatrist and a second from a probation officer.

Hayton, latterly of New Road, Kendal, is due to receive his punishment at the crown court on June 23.In the meantime, he was remanded in custody by Recorder Rankin.