This is the moment a homeless man’s tent was set on fire seconds before he managed to scramble free, caught on crystal-clear footage which helped detectives quickly arrest the arsonist.

The dramatic footage shows Ian Gordon strolling up to the tent, which was pitched on grass off Carrs Lane in Birmingham city centre, before starting a number of fires around it.

The tent was engulfed in flames and destroyed in minutes, but the man inside was able to get out just in time.

The images were shared on an internal police briefing system and a PC immediately recognised Gordon.

He was arrested the night after the fire, which happened on the morning of Friday 21st June this year.

Gordon, aged 51, from Kitt’s Green, denied any involvement in interview. He was remanded in custody and pleaded guilty to arson with intent to endanger life.

On Monday (09/11), Gordon was jailed for six years and six months at Birmingham Crown Court, and had his licence period extended by four years.

The victim was looked at by paramedics and treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.

DC Laurence Green, of Birmingham West local investigation team, said: “We still don’t know what the motivation for this was.

“Following the offence, a number of officers from the local neighbourhood team and CID walked around the city centre, speaking with members of the homeless community, not only to gather intelligence of the offence, but to reassure them.

“The offender was quickly identified from the excellent CCTV footage and was arrested from his home address.”