A thug almost killed a homeless man by setting his tent on fire while he was asleep inside.

51-year-old Ian Gordon was filmed walking up to the tent and kneeling down to drop a lit match at 7am on June 21st in Birmingham city centre, writes Metro.co.uk.

He is then captured by CCTV cameras as he sets another corner alight and stands back to watch before stealing the man's coat.

Matthew Dervan managed to clamber out just before the tent was engulfed in flames and burned down within minutes.

Gordon admitted to arson and theft on the grass verge outside a church.

Patrick Sullivan, prosecuting, said: "He was asleep in the tent at around 7am when CCTV captured what the defendant did."

"Ian Gordon walked up to a corner of the tent, knelt down and used what looked like a lighter to set fire to it."

"He then did the same thing to another corner. There were a number of things draped over the tent including the victim's jacket which Gordon took."

"Both sources of ignition took hold and flames grew rapidly."

"CCTV shows the tent catching fire rigorously."

"Thankfully the sleeping Mr Dervan awoke and climbed out of the side of the tent and watched as the rest of it burnt down to a cinder."

"There is nothing left of the tent. Just a few scorch marks."

Theresa Hunt, defending, said: "There is no satisfactory explanation as to why Gordon would have carried out this offence."

"He had nothing to gain from setting fire to the tent. He left his house early that morning, got a bus into town and did this."

Gordon was jailed for six and a half years at Birmingham Crown Court.

While sentencing, Judge Patrick Thomas QC told him: "You set fire to a tent in which someone was asleep."

"It is pure good fortune for you and him he woke up before it was too late."

"I have no explanation for why you did this. This case of itself demonstrates that you are a danger."

"There is a significant risk you will re offend."

Source: Metro.co.uk
Image Credit: SWNS