A BOURNEMOUTH animal rights activist has been jailed for 12 years and placed on licence for life for carrying out an arson campaign against people he believed had links to the vivisection industry.

Donald Currie - described as the Animal Liberation Front's top bomber - was sentenced this week at Reading Crown Court after admitting charges of arson and possessing explosive substances with intent to endanger life and property.

Detectives are linking Currie to at least half-a-dozen similar attacks in other areas and are liaising with other police forces, including Dorset.

He has been told he must serve an indefinite sentence for the public's protection and that it will be more than five years before he can be considered for parole.

Although described by the court as having no fixed address, before his arrest the 40-year-old vegan lived in a house in Charminster with his wife Karen and three children.

The Daily Echo called at the run-down Victorian property on Friday, but Mrs Currie refused to comment on the sentence.

Currie was a supporter of SHAC - Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty - which campaigns against Huntingdon Life Sciences, Britain's largest animal testing laboratory.

Mrs Currie, herself an activist, was fined £50 in September last year after being convicted of assault. She had sounded an air horn in the ear of a laboratory worker who confronted protesters outside his home in the middle of the night.

The couple were sometimes seen near WHSmith in central Bournemouth and at Swanage and Ringwood, collecting signatures for a petition beside a display of gory hunting and vivisection pictures.

Currie, an unemployed psychiatric nurse, was wearing a mask and carrying a fire lighter and cigarette lighter when he was arrested in March near the Reading home of Caroline Brooks. Police found homemade bombs under her husband's car.

Mrs Brooks is sales and marketing director of a courier firm that specialises in transporting pharmaceutical products and is understood to have had dealings with the Huntingdon Life Sciences animal research centre.

Currie admitted two charges of possessing an explosive substance with intent to endanger life and seriously damage property, and one of attempted arson.

He also admitted arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered for igniting a petrol bomb on the doorstep of Paul Blackburn, corporate controller of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

He denied a fifth arson charge relating to a £140,000 blaze at a cardboard box company in Somerset in May last year.

Currie's previous convictions include criminal damage, assault, threatening behaviour, obstructing police, failure to surrender to bail, and destroying badger traps.