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Bungler who tried to petrol bomb pub jailed

A bungling would-be petrol bomber who was caught by police after he ran into a lamp post and needed medical treatment was jailed for eight years today.

Amir Ali, 28, and another unidentified man attempted to petrol bomb the Imperial pub in Broadfield, Crawley, West Sussex, in the early hours of May 28 2008, a spokeswoman for Sussex Police said.

Ali threw two bricks, breaking a window, while the other man threw the petrol bomb, which accidentally hit Ali and burst into flames.

The flames died away almost immediately but in his panic he ran straight into a lamp post and hit his head, the spokeswoman added.

He then went to the Crawley walk-in medical centre for treatment to his head injury and was linked to the attack by investigating officers.

Ali, of Ridge Road, north London, denied the offence but forensic and CCTV evidence helped bring him to justice.

He was found guilty of attempting to without lawful excuse, damage by fire the pub in August before being sentenced at Hove Crown Court today.

Detective Constable Craig Allan said: "This was a prolonged and difficult investigation during which the defendant consistently denied being responsible.

"However, gradually we were able to piece it all together and today's sentence reflects the seriousness with which the courts take this kind of behaviour."

Anyone with information about the identity of the man who attacked the pub with Ali is asked to contact police on 0845 60 70 999, quoting Operation Cantilever, or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.