12 Apr 2012

Prison sentence for London arsonist

3:17 pm on 12 April 2012

A looter who started a fire at a furniture store in last year's riots in London has been sentenced to prison for 11-and-a-half years.

Gordon Thompson, 34, stole a laptop from the House of Reeves in Croydon on 8 August before setting fire to a sofa.

He was sentenced at the Old Bailey central criminal court, having pleaded guilty to arson and burglary.

The court heard he previously looted two other stores, Iceland and House of Fraser, before turning on the Reeves store, a family company which had been in business there for 144 years.

The fire caused an estimated loss of £3 million to Reeves.

The BBC reports the blaze was so fierce that buildings on the opposite side of the road caught fire and tram lines in the road were damaged.

The company - which has been in the Reeves family for five generations - is still trading from refurbished premises across the street.