An arsonist, who set two businesses ablaze – causing nearly £1.2m worth of damage – during last summer’s riots, has been locked-up for eight years.
Andrew Burls, 23, (pic.top) of Purdon House, Peckham was captured on CCTV and targeted by Operation Withern – the police team set-up to hunt down and arrest the rioters.
Officers examined hours of CCTV footage that captured events in the London Borough of Southwark.
They identified a group who moved through Peckham Town Centre on the afternoon and evening of Monday August 8, looting, damaging businesses and private property along the High Street and Rye Lane.
One masked individual (Burls pic.mid.) was identified committing a number of offences.
During their investigation officers were able to link CCTV footage with witness accounts gathered at the time of the disorder and identified Burls as the suspect in the images.
Footage shows him making the initial attack on the Iceland store in Rye Lane, smashing and removing a window before entering as part of a large group.
A fire is then started by Burls at the Post Office, where he is seen placing burning material onto a pile of documents already knocked to the floor.
Finally Burls is captured walking towards Regens clothing where he is seen brandishing a small yellow object, believed to be a cigarette lighter, shortly before the premises is engulfed in flames.
The fire spread to Greggs the bakers next door, and the residential flats above which were occupied at the time with residents having to flee their homes.
Detective Inspector Daniel O'Sullivan said: “Burls's actions during the disorder and criminality we saw in Southwark in August not only showed a complete disregard for the law and his own community, but a total disregard for the lives of the people who lived above the premises he recklessly set alight and the damage he has caused.
“Today has seen the longest prison sentence given in relation to the disorder in Southwark, which reflects the seriousness of these offences.
“It is due to the dedication of my team who have worked tirelessly to identify individuals from a huge volume of CCTV footage and those members of the public who valued their community enough to come forward and assist us, that Burls had no choice but plead guilty to these offences.
“Six months on from those events we are still pursuing those individuals and gangs who brought fear and mob mentality to our streets.”
Officers executed a search warrant at Burls's home address on October 24 where he was arrested and a number of items seized which further linked him to those images.
He was charged the same day.
At Inner London crown Court he pleaded guilty to arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered at Post Office, 199-201 Rye Lane, Peckham and Regans Clothing, 193 Rye Lane, Peckham and burglary, with intent to steal, at Iceland, Rye Lane.