A MAN who committed arson in his Poole flat and tampered with a gas pipe ended up alerting emergency services about the fire.

Alan Jardine, aged 39, started the blaze in his second floor flat at Oyster Bay Apartments in Sterte Close, Poole, at around midnight on July 14 last year.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard that other residents became aware of smoke and a pungent smell of gas.

Jardine, however, called the fire service who were quickly on the scene and made himself known to them.

Prosecuting Tom Wright said the residential block, which contains around 40 flats, was evacuated and firefighters managed to contain the blaze to the area where it had started.

After the fire had been extinguished and the flat made safe, residents were able to re-enter the building at around 2am.

Mr Wright said a statement from the building's owners Sovereign Housing Association said the flat had to be renovated and redecorated, at a cost of "several hundred pounds if not a few thousand pounds".

Jardine admitted a charge of arson with recklessness as to whether life was endangered at an earlier hearing and appeared in the dock on September 3 for sentencing.

Mitigating Richard Onslow said the defendant has had mental health issues for a prolonged period and emphasised that he had contacted emergency services after starting the fire.

Mr Onslow added that Jardine was a "worried" man ahead of appearance in court and he is "very sorry" for what he did.

Since the incident last year the defendant had stayed out of trouble and been in contact with the mental health support team, the court heard.

Judge Stephen Climie issued Jardine with a three-year community order, with a requirement to carry out 50 days of rehabilitation requirement activities with the probation service.

"In July last year you put not just your life but the lives of others at risk," said the judge.

Mr Climie said the offence was "tempered" but the fact Jardine was the person who raised the alarm.

The judge spoke with the defendant's sister during the hearing and told Jardine her words had played some part in reaching the verdict he did.