AN arsonist who tormented his community is behind bars after torching nine cars – and leaving behind a £57,000 trail of destruction.

Kenneth Sherrington caused misery across the Grangetown area of Sunderland after deliberately setting fire to nine cars over a six-week period between November 2019 and January year.

The Northern Echo:

Sherrington, 30, randomly targeted a number of victims, often in the dead of night – including a disabled man whose wheelchair was destroyed in the blaze.

But now the fire-starter has been brought to justice after neighbourhood officers from Grangetown and Ryhope painstakingly pieced together hundreds of hours of CCTV clips to prove he was responsible for each blaze.

The Northern Echo:

Upon arrest, Sherrington was also found to be wearing the same clothes as he was wearing while committing one of the offences.

Sherrington, of Villette Road, Sunderland, refused to cooperate with police in interview but pleaded guilty to nine counts of arson causing criminal damage back in May.

Yesterday he was jailed for 20 months at Newcastle Crown Court.

Sergeant Craig Sherriff, of Northumbria Police, said: “Kenneth Sherrington randomly targeted residents in his own community at a time when people across the North-east were all pulling together and looking out for each other.

“His actions were incredibly dangerous, setting vehicles on fire under the cover of darkness while his victims were fast asleep. In doing so, he endangered the lives of everybody living nearby – he could have easily killed somebody if the blaze had spread to nearby houses.

“I’d like to thank each victim for their cooperation and support throughout this investigation and hope today’s outcome offers them some comfort. Sherrington deserves this period behind bars.

“I would also like to thank the team of officers, especially PC Emily Milne who led the investigation, who all played their part in ensuring Sherrington had his day in court. Their efforts involved piecing together hundreds of hours of CCTV clips, tracking Sherrington’s movements, and ultimately proving he was the man responsible for repeatedly lighting the flame.

“This type of crime will not be tolerated in Northumbria and we will use every tactic at our disposal to ensure offenders are identified, arrested and brought to justice.”

One of Sherrington’s victims was a disabled man who relies on using a wheelchair while outside – but was left house-bound when his vehicle was torched.

In a statement prepared for court, he said: “My wheelchair was in my car at the time of the fire and this has meant not only am I without my car, but my mobility has been dramatically restricted as my wheel chair has been destroyed.

“It is quite scary that someone is prepared to set fire to property in such a dangerous location. This incident could have been a lot worse if I had not been woken up.”

The court heard Sherrington’s offending came at a time when he was facing psychiatric difficulties. He now begins a custodial term.