A chef was jailed for three and a half years after starting a “potentially catastrophic” blaze.
Jason Hughes turned up at a flat at St Catherine’s Square, Perth, with a jerry can containing petrol and poured the fuel on to a bed and sofa before igniting it.
Occupants were evacuated and firefighters only extinguished the blaze after it completely destroyed the interior of the flat and caused £36,000 of damage.
Hughes, 36, later told police he had gone to the flats to meet a man to pay him money to get his phone back but was told by a security guard he did not want visitors.
The man’s body was later found in the complex, but his death was not connected to the fire.
Hughes said he went to a garage and filled the can with fuel which another customer bought for him as he did not have money to pay for it.
He said: “I’m going to get petrol. I’m going to go in there and I’m going to burn the flat down.”
Hughes told officers: “In my head, that would be payback for stealing my bank card and selling my phone, like a retribution.”
Hughes reported his phone as stolen and said he had accidentally left it at a friend’s home. When he went to get it back he was told it had been sold to a neighbour.
Advocate depute Michael Meehan said: “The accused said he had spoken to the neighbour who had told him he would have to pay £40 to get his phone back.”
The neighbour was Thomas McLeish, who was found dead in the complex after the blaze.
Hughes, a prisoner in Perth, earlier admitted wilfully setting fire to items at the flat on November 18 last year, when he appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh. Judge Lady Scott told Hughes he’d have faced a five-year sentence but for his early guilty plea.