Oswaldtwistle shopkeeper jailed for store arson
A Lancashire shopkeeper who set fire to his store to claim on the insurance has been jailed for four years.
Saddaqat Ali, 50, from Perry Street in Darwen, set fire to the West End Convenience Store in Blackburn Road, Oswaldtwistle, in August 2010.
The alarm was raised by local residents, one of whom went into the shop thinking someone was inside.
Ali was found guilty of reckless arson as to whether life was endangered and fraud at Burnley Crown Court.
He was sentenced at Preston Crown Court on Monday.
Police said he claimed he was at home at the time of the fire, but was arrested after witnesses saw him leaving the shop minutes before the blaze broke out.
Det Con Cath Lee from Accrington CID said: "Ali put the lives of innocent members of the public at risk and it was fortunate that no one was seriously injured.
"I would like to praise the bravery of the passer-by who put his own life at risk when he thought someone was trapped inside the shop.
"This should act as a warning to anyone who thinks they can commit insurance fraud - it is a very serious offence and the police will always carry out full and thorough investigations to bring offenders to justice."