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24 February 2012, 12:59
A man has admitted starting a massive fire which destroyed a family-run furniture shop during the riots last year.
33-year-old Gordon Thompson pleaded guilty to arson at House of Reeves in Croydon in August last year.
The shop had stood at the site since 1867, before it was razed to the ground by the fire.
He also admitted one count of burglary for stealing a laptop from the shop on the same night.
Thompson's trial for starting the blaze, which was so fierce that buildings on the opposite side of the road caught fire, had started at the Old Bailey earlier this week.
But at the end of the prosecution opening he decided to admit certain charges.
Thompson had already admitted burglary of two shops in Croydon - Iceland and House of Fraser - on the same evening.
Jurors were ordered to find him not guilty of two other charges of violent disorder and arson with intent to endanger life.
Judge Peter Thornton QC warned that he will face "a long sentence of imprisonment".
Thompson will be sentenced on April 11.