THE “firestarter” behind a Hereford city centre blaze faces sentencing next month.

Martin Mossey, of Sheridan Road, Moor Farm, Hereford, pleaded guilty to arson after causing a serious fire at the Natalka Polskie Delikatesy in June.

The 58-year-old was described as “largely an odd individual” by Antonie Muller, defending.

“He is a man who doesn’t think about risk at all,” he told Hereford Crown Court.

“Events in his past have centred on exhibitionism, but not setting things on fire.”

The Eign Gate fire, captured on CCTV, may have gone on to wreak further destruction had it not been for the intervention of a mysterious bystander.

Caroline Bradley, prosecuting, told the court that the footage shows an unknown hero run into the blaze and start pulling out pallets before they could catch fire.

The charge of arson, reckless as to whether life endangered, will lie on Mossey’s record, while he will face sentencing for simple arson in Hereford on December 9.

That offence alone carries the possibility of a custodial sentence, and Judge Toby Hooper made a point of underlining the dangers of the crime.

“Fire is a terrible thing,” he said.