Kenneth Sherrington, 30, will be sentenced next month after admitting nine counts of arson
An arsonist who tormented his community by torching a series of vehicles during a relentless crime spree has been convicted.
Kenneth Sherrington caused misery to residents in the Grangetown area of Sunderland after setting fire to nine cars within a six-week period between December 2019 and January last year.
The reckless 30-year-old randomly targeted his victims – including a disabled man whose wheelchair was destroyed in the blaze – mainly in the dead of night.
Frightened residents only realised they had been a victim after being woken up to loud explosions outside or neighbours frantically banging at their door.
Sherrington has now been brought to justice after neighbourhood officers from the Grangetown and Ryhope team painstakingly pieced together hundreds of hours of CCTV clips showing each offence.
They were then able to prove Sherrington was responsible for starting each fire – with the offender found to be wearing the same clothes upon arrest as he wore while committing one of the offences.
Sherrington, of Villette Road, Sunderland, refused to cooperate with police in interview but last week (May 12) pleaded guilty to nine counts of arson causing criminal damage, with the weight of evidence against him overwhelming.
He is due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court next month.
Sergeant Craig Sherriff, of Northumbria Police, said: “Kenneth Sherrington randomly targeted victims in his own community at a time when the majority of people across the North-east were all pulling together and looking out for each other.
“His actions were selfish and 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 had the blaze spread to nearby houses.
“I am delighted that he has now been convicted of his crimes, and I’d like to thank each victim for their cooperation and support throughout this wide-ranging investigation.
“I would also like to praise the team of officers, especially PC Emily Milne who led the investigation, who all played their part in ensuring this perpetrator rightly had his day in court.
“Their intensive enquiries 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.
“I hope this outcome offers reassurance that this type of crime will not be tolerated in Northumbria, and we will use every tactic at our disposal to ensure perpetrators are identified, arrested and brought to justice.”
Among Sherrington’s victims was a disabled man who relies on using a wheelchair when out of the house – but who was left stranded after 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.”
Sherrington has been remanded in custody until he is due to be sentenced on June 29.