Andrew Burls
Andrew Burls

An arsonist who set fire to a shop during the London riots last year has been jailed after he was identified on CCTV footage by his cross-eyes.

Andrew Burls, 23, of Peckham, started a fire at Regen's Lingerie boutique in Rye Lane, Peckham, south London. It spread through a neighbouring Greggs bakery and a post office.

The arson cost taxpayers more than £1.2m and left six people homeless.

Burls covered his face with a bandana but left his eyes unmasked. Police trawling through CCTV footage of the riots recognised him by his eyes.

Det Insp Daniel O'Sullivan, from Southwark borough's Operation Withern team, which is investigating the London riots, 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."

Burls originally denied the offence but was jailed for eight years at Inner London crown court after changing his plea to guilty on two counts of arson, reckless endangerment and burglary.

The sentence was the longest that could be passed for the offence, said O'Sullivan.