A LEAD detective has welcomed the sentencing of a former cop who set fire to his ex-partner's home, as shocking pictures have been released of the damage caused to the property.

Stephen Light, who set fire to a property in Maryport endangering the lives of the occupants has today, November 9, has been jailed for seven and a half years.

Light, 49, of Main Road, High Harrington appeared at Carlisle Crown Court having been charged with arson with intent to endanger life.

The court heard that on the evening of  June 13 this year a fire engulfed a property on Church Terrace, Maryport.

The occupants of the property narrowly escaped the fire which destroyed their home and killed a family dog.

News and Star: The outside of the property was blackened as a result of the arson.The outside of the property was blackened as a result of the arson. (Image: Cumbria police)

Following an investigation by Cumbria Fire and Rescue it was identified that the fire started on the ground floor living room before spreading through the house.

A 'radiocarbon detection dog' identified three areas in the living room and two in the dining room that had been covered in fuel accelerant.

T/Detective Constable Alex Chalker said: “We take arson offences extremely seriously, fire can quickly become out of control putting people's lives at risk.

“Light’s account of what happened that evening was inconstant and changed at the scene and in interview.

News and Star: Pictures show the stairway of the property destroyed by the fire.Pictures show the stairway of the property destroyed by the fire. (Image: Cumbria police)

“When police arrived, Light claimed to have woken up to the fire before escaping.

“In interview he claimed to have accidently kicked a jerry can which knocked over a candle causing the house to go up in flames before escaping outside.

“Witnesses seen Light coming from the garden after the occupants narrowly escaped the fire, seemingly watching the fire unfold, before he attempted to assist in rescuing animals from the property by smashing windows.

“Following a joint investigation Light’s claims were not plausible with multiple areas found in the property covered in fuel accelerant.”