A MAN who went on a crime spree, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage to three police cars, has been jailed for five years.

Nicholas Lowe, 56, of Endless Street, had damaged one of the force's cars when it attended a fire he had allegedly started, before then setting fire to two others police vehicles while on bail for the original offence.

Appearing at Salisbury Crown Court yesterday, he pleaded guilty to two counts of arson, possession of a bladed article in a public place, possession of an offensive weapon in a public place and criminal damage.

Salisbury Journal:

It was heard that the first incident occurred on February 24 last year, when Wiltshire Police were alerted by Wiltshire and Dorset Fire and Rescue at around 3.20am about a fire in Salisbury’s Central Car Park, close to Sainsbury’s.

Lowe, who was intoxicated, had phoned the fire service to tell them he had started a fire close to the area where rough sleepers were staying.

He had also damaged the wing mirrors of several vehicles, as well as the car park’s ceiling lights, using a wooden bat.

Officers attended the scene and, when they arrived, Lowe used the bat to damage the bonnet of their police car.

He was arrested and searched and was found to be carrying a knife.

Then, on November 17, while Lowe was released under investigation for the first incident, he set fire to two police cars in College Street Car Park, using an aerosol can and a bottle of white spirit.

Wiltshire Police says the estimated cost of the damage caused in the first incident, including the lights and five vehicles, was around £2,000, with the cost of the damage to the two police cars in the second incident around £5,000.

Acting Inspector John Hutchings, from Wiltshire South Community Policing Team, said: “Lowe’s actions on both occasions demonstrated not only a complete lack of respect for the police, but an active disdain and hatred for individual officers and the Force as a whole.

“The second incident in particular could easily have caused significant harm or even loss of life, to either a police officer or member of staff or a passing member of the public.

“I welcome this sentence which hopefully shows that this kind of behaviour and attitude towards the police will not be tolerated.”