A TERRIFIED family was left trapped inside their smoke-filled home when a Cardigan man started a fire outside the wrong house.
Nathan Jones, of Golwg y Castell, set bin bags on fire outside a house in Castle Street in an act of arson earlier this year.
However the 42-year-old had targeted the wrong house, leaving a young family of four fearing for their lives as their only exit caught ablaze.
Jones was identified and arrested following a rigorous investigation by Dyfed-Powys Police detectives, with support from teams across Ceredigion.
He has now been jailed for four years for arson with intent to endanger life.
Officer in case Detective Constable Damon Watmough said: “This was a very serious and traumatic incident, which could have had devastating consequences for the victims.
“The defendant was determined to cause fear or harm by starting the fire, and put the lives of a family with two young children at risk.
“We hope this sentence will provide reassurance to the community and victims following this distressing incident.”
Police were made aware of the fire at around 3am on June 16, 2020, and an investigation was immediately launched.
Despite initial suggestions that it was accidentally caused by a lit cigarette, detectives were able to prove the blaze had been started deliberately.
Enquiries carried out into conversations on social media identified the defendant as being involved in the incident, and he was swiftly arrested.
DC Watmough said: “As the investigation progressed, we discovered the fire was started intentionally, but not at the home Jones intended to target.
“He actually went back to try and put the fire out, however it appears a black bag was still smouldering, and spread to the other refuse outside the house.
“By the time the occupants were aware, they had no means of escape, and a gas pipe had been damaged and was leaking into their home.”
A large amount of CCTV footage from the scene was reviewed, showing Jones in the location at times consisted with the fire starting.
Jones was charged with arson with intent to endanger life.
On Friday, September 25, he pleaded guilty at Swansea Crown Court and was sentenced to four years in jail.
DC Watmough said: “This is an excellent result, and is testament to the work officers from teams across the division put in to a rapid and intense investigation.
“Over four days, enquiries were carried out by Ceredigion CID, the Cardigan response team, CSI, intelligence bureau and technical support unit, who all helped to build the file of evidence against Jones.”