A MAN carrying a knife set fire to a pile of cardboard outside a Radcliffe takeaway, a court heard.

Convicted arsonist Christopher Reynolds, 35, was caught on CCTV starting the blaze which threatened a terrified family with a baby in the flats above.

At Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, Lisa Boocock, prosecuting, said it was about 6.30pm on September 8 2020, when Hazer Mahmood, who owns the Hawaa takeaway restaurant and the flats above it on Dumers Lane, Radcliffe, noticed the wall behind his business was ablaze with flames reaching up to 15ft high.

Ms Boocock said: "The defendant can be seen on CCTV clearly drunk and with a vodka bottle in his hand standing by a pile of cardboard at the back of the shop.

"He takes several minutes, bending down looking at the paper and taking an item in his hand which is probably a lighter and then lights the cardboard."

The fire was seen by a passing taxi driver who alerted Mr Mahmood and they were able to put out the fire using buckets of water.

"The residents above were very concerned as they had a three week old baby," said Ms Boocock. "The owners saw the defendant in a nearby phone box, followed him and confronted him and asked him to come back to the shop."

A confrontation began with Reynolds trying to leave and during the scuffle he was punched by a member of staff and a 12 inch long knife fell from his clothing.

Police officers arrived and found he was in possession of a lighter and lighter fuel and arrested him with Reynolds saying he had no memory of the incident.

Ms Boocock added that Reynolds, of Seddon Avenue, Radcliffe, had a previous conviction for arson dating back to 2008.

Thomas Sherrington, defending, said: "He (Reynolds) is a man with very significant issues - self harm, epilepsy and in fairness to him he has kept a good handle on it while in custody."

Mr Sherrington added that Reynolds, who pleaded guilty to arson and possession of a knife, had now spent 10 months in custody and "everything was in place for him in terms of mental health going forward".

Passing sentence, Judge John Edwards, said: "I found this quite a worrying case because I accept your offending is against a backdrop of a deteriorating mental health background, but I can't help commenting that I'm sure your judgement was not assisted by three cans of lager and at least a quarter of a bottle of neat vodka.

"Fire is a killer as is smoke and you can never tell which way it will go."

Reynolds was handed an 18 month prison sentence meaning he will now be released from custody on license.