Gordon Thompson was sentenced to 11.5 years in prison (Met Police)

The man who started a fire that destroyed a 150-year-old furniture store in Croydon during the London riots has been sentenced to 11 and a half years in jail.

Gordon Thompson, 34, admitted arson and recklessly endangering life two days into his trial on February 24.

He was filmed on CCTV and mobile phones wearing a red hooded top as he ran through the shop, from which he stole a laptop.

Thompson, of Croydon, asked a bystander for a lighter and set fire to a sofa in the furniture store showroom. The blaze gutted the building that had been a family business for more than 150 years.

Thompson also pleaded guilty to violent disorder and burglaries at House of Fraser and Iceland during the riots in August 2011.

Thompson was filmed "brazenly" looting Iceland on Surrey Street and an image of him doing so appeared on the front page of a local newspaper. He was then filmed entering House of Fraser and leaving with armfuls of goods.

He was arrested on 14 August by a local police officer who recognised him from the images that had been circulating. He pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey after the footage and images were displayed in court.

The blaze gutted the 150-year-old furniture store (Rueters / Dylan Martinez)

Store owner Maurice Reeve, who told the press that the shock over the fire left him feeling that part of him had "died", became an iconic victim of the riots.

He told BBC Breakfast: "It's with tears in my eyes that I think about it.

"I have not got a great deal of sympathy for [Thompson]. He's put great devastation on the Reeves family and it's been very difficult."