A JEALOUS boyfriend used a can of fuel to destroy a car in a revenge attack after falsely accusing a totally innocent man of seeing his partner.

Leigh Tobin was seen by witnesses openly pouring the accelerant over the second hand car before starting the fire and standing back to watch it take hold.

The car, worth £600, had only been bought two days earlier by a builder who wanted to make some cash by renovating it and selling it at a profit. It was completely destroyed.

Tobin, 36, formerly of Greenaway Road, Newton Abbot, now of Torquay, admitted arson and was jailed for 14 months, suspended for two years and ordered to pay £600 compensation and do 15 days of rehabilitation activities.

He was banned from contacting the victim and put on an alcohol abstinence tag for 90 days by Judge David Evans at Exeter Crown Court. 

The judge said he was taking into account congestion in the prison system and the need for Tobin to work on his thinking skills in deciding to suspend the sentence.

He told Tobin: ‘This offence was very serious. When someone in a rage sets light to a car he is not in control of the consequences. They don’t know how quickly it is going to burn, whether it is going to explode or whether it will put at risk anyone who tries to put it out. 

‘Whatever your thought processes, you made the decision, bizarrely, unreasonably and disproportionately to burn this vehicle.’

Mr Lewis Aldous, prosecuting, said Tobin set light to the car in April this year, causing it to be burned out and destroyed. 

He said it was a revenge attack arising from the mistaken belief that the owner was in a relationship with a female friend of his.

Miss Evie Dean, defending, said Tobin had been in custody since his arrest but has been assessed as a good prospect for rehabilitation.

He suffers from epilepsy as a result of a head injury and his condition has been exacerbated by being in custody. He is also keen to address a problem with alcohol which started when he was just 15.