A TRANENT man who smashed a flat window and poured petrol into the home before setting it ablaze has been jailed for three years.

Robert Fyvie, 39, launched the “potentially catastrophic” fire attack on a home then occupied by Kevin Sands at Carlyle Gardens in Haddington in February last year.

A neighbour revealed he was woken on the day of the incident by a police officer shouting the building was on fire.

Following his arrest, Fyvie then struggled violently with police officers and caused one officer to be dragged into the cell area of a police vehicle.

He then ripped off evidence bags from his hands and repeatedly kicked the side of the vehicle as he was being taken to Dalkeith Police Station.

Fyvie denied the offences and stood trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month, where he was found guilty of wilfully setting fire to the flat by a majority jury decision. The jury also returned a unanimous guilty verdict to the police assault charge.

Fyvie, who recently became a dad, returned to the dock last Thursday for sentencing and was jailed for three years.

He continues to deny his involvement in the fire attack.

But due to the jury’s decision to find him guilty, defence lawyer Paul Dunne admitted a community-based disposal was “not appropriate” in this case.

Mr Dunne added that his client had had a “very long-standing relationships with drugs” but was now clean since the birth of his daughter.

In sentencing, Sheriff O’Grady said: “Wilful fireraising is in any view always a serious offence and in your case it is particularly grave because it was a premeditated act of revenge.

“It is also an act of outrageous recklessness to set fire to a domestic premises which is in a shared building.

“It was potentially catastrophic.

“It is quite clear to me that an offence as serious as this requires a significant custodial sentence.”

The sheriff added that Fyvie, a joiner to trade, had shown “no insight or remorse” over the attack and his behaviour towards the arresting police officers was “no trivial matter either”.

Neighbours living in the Haddington cul-de-sac said it now had a “bad reputation” after the fire attack on Mr Sands, which occurred following a fallout with Fyvie, who was also living on the street at the time.

A man who lives in a property attached to Sands’ former home said: “I have lived here for 25 years, I was in my bed that day having a wee sleep in the afternoon when I heard loud banging on the door.

“A policewoman said I had to get out.

“When I asked why, she said: ‘The building is burning!’

“I might have been burned otherwise.”

He added: “The place has a bad reputation but it’s nice people that live here.”

The property in question is now occupied by a new tenant who is “totally chuffed” with the revamped home, but the evidence of the fire can still be seen on the skirting boards in the living room and the burnt aerial socket in the corner, which has never been repaired.

The former home of Fyvie, who lived in a neighbouring property to Mr Sands prior to his arrest last February, has since been vandalised and East Lothian Council had to board it up with metal shutters.

Neighbours hope that now that he has been jailed it can be revamped and re-occupied.

A council spokesperson said: “While we cannot comment on individual cases, we would, in circumstances where a property is unoccupied for a length of time, take appropriate steps to recover the property.”

Mr Sands, who now lives elsewhere, declined to comment.