A MAN who set light to a van on a filling station forecourt while the driver and passenger were still inside has begun a five year prison sentence.

Russell Osborne, 35, from Waiblingen Way Devizes, admitted a charge of arson with intent to endanger life. He was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court on Friday.

Insp Matt Armstrong from Wiltshire Police said: “This was a completely reckless crime that could have easily ended with people being very seriously injured or even worse.

“It wasn't just those targeted at risk but due to the location it could have had a much wider and more devastating effect. Fortunately through good detective work we were able to identify, locate and arrest Russell Osborne and ensure a successful prosecution.”

Police were called to the Esso garage on Bath Road, Devizes, shortly after 7pm on July 26, after reports of a van deliberately being set on fire. The fire brigade were also called out but the occupants of the van, two men in their twenties, were able to put the fire out themselves.

Following a search that involved dogs and the force helicopter, Osborne was arrested shortly before midnight as he walked along the canal towpath.