London

Peckham riots shop arsonist jailed for eight years

Andrew Burls
Image caption Burls was caught by police combing CCTV footage of the riots because of his eyes

A 23-year-old man who set fire to a shop and a post office in Peckham in south London during the summer's riots has been jailed for eight years.

Andrew Burls started a fire at Regen's Lingerie boutique in Rye Lane and a post office, causing £1m worth of damage and leaving six people homeless.

Burls admitted two counts of arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered and one count of burglary.

Police said the rioter, from Peckham, was caught because of his crossed eyes.

Burls, of Purdon House, High Street, had his face covered during the riots but police combing through the CCTV footage spotted him because of his eyes.

The arsonist, who had initially denied the charges, changed his pleas in January. He was sentenced at Inner London Crown Court.

Southwark Council said that the rioter had voluntarily given up the tenancy of his council flat.

Peter John, leader of the council, said: "His actions cost more than £1m in damages to local shops, caused immense distress to their business owners, left six people homeless and terrified a close-knit and peaceful community."

Det Insp Daniel O'Sullivan, from Southwark borough's Operation Withern team, said: "Burls' actions during the disorder and criminality we saw in Southwark in August not only showed a complete disregard for the law and his own community, but a total disregard for the lives of the people who lived above the premises he recklessly set alight and the damage he has caused."

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