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19 May 2015, 09:05 | Updated: 19 May 2015, 11:18
A man has admitted setting fire to his own flat in Peterborough.
Luke Rees, 26, of Somerville, Peterborough, was due to stand trial this week but pleaded guilty yesterday (May 18) to counts of arson and arson, reckless as to whether life was endangered.
The court heard the arson took place after Rees had been in Peterborough city centre with friends on December 12 and had returned with them to a hostel in South View, Woodston, in the evening.
After saying he was going to the toilet, he set a cupboard in a bathroom on fire, and then left after saying he was going home.
Two of his friends then also left but had not gone far when they heard fire alarms and saw Rees pacing around nearby. They approached him but he ran off.
The premises had to be evacuated and the damage meant residents had to be re-housed.
The second offence happened on the evening of the following day, when Rees started a fire on a mattress in his own flat in Somerville.
Another resident of the property smashed a window in an attempt to get into the flat but as he did so he saw Rees walking nearby and challenged him. Rees claimed to be returning from the shop but had no shopping with him.
He was later arrested after witnesses told police they had seen him leave just before the alarm was raised.
DC Steve Ward said: "Rees started these fires without any consideration for the damage they might cause, to the properties or the people living in them.
"Luckily, the alarm was raised quickly on both occasions and no-one was injured but it could have been a lot more serious."
Rees will be sentenced in July.