A WHITECROOK man set fire to wheelie bins on two occasions near his home because he was annoyed at children playing loudly.

Thomas Coulter, of McCreery Street, set fire to a bin outside a neighbour’s house in the street, on November 10 last year.

Seven days later, he did the same to a bin outside another property in McCreery Street.

Coulter, 40, pleaded guilty to two charges of wilful fire-raising at a hearing at Dumbarton Sheriff Court on January 21 – when it was revealed he had four previous convictions for the same offence.

Kevin Doherty, prosecuting, told the court two witnesses, both Polish nationals, “believe the fire-raising to have occurred due to their children playing in the street and upsetting neighbours”.

Describing the first incident shortly after midnight last November 10, Mr Doherty said: “The witness was in her living room watching TV when she heard her neighbour’s door banging.

“She had her window open slightly and heard her neighbour, the accused, in the communal front garden.

“She heard Mr Coulter return to his home, and then describes a loud bang from the area of her wheelie bin. She saw it was on fire before exploding.”

Mr Doherty described how the other witness, watching from her home, had seen Coulter leave his property with what she described as “a squeezy bottle with clear liquid”.

He continued: “She describes how he squeezed liquid on to the wall and path at the bins. The accused was seen looking out of his window as if waiting for something to happen.

“The witness walked to her bathroom door, heard an explosion, and saw the bins at the front of the property on fire.”

Police and the fire service were called and a fire officer concluded the fire was set wilfully.

Mr Doherty said in the second incident, at around 1am on November 17, a neighbour heard Coulter’s front door banging shut.

“She saw the accused and his partner talking in their bedroom, and then heard a door bang again and heard people in the garden. She did not see or hear any fire, and went to sleep.”

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Only the next morning did the neighbours find that another bin had been set alight.

A search warrant was obtained for Coulter’s home and a canister of lighter fuel was found.

At last week’s hearing, Sheriff Maxwell Hendry pointed out that Coulter’s criminal record included four previous convictions for a similar offence.

Sheriff Hendry deferred sentence for a report on his suitability for a supervised release order.

He told Coulter: “I’m concerned at what’s going to happen when you are released.”