Man cleared of setting fire to car

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A MAN accused of torching a neighbour’s girlfriend’s car after finding out he was a police officer has been cleared of arson.

Peter Easton was accused of hurling abuse at Pc Craig Henderson, of Durham Police, whenever they bumped into each other during dog walks.

It was claimed Easton, branded Pc Henderson a “muppet” and torched the officer’s girlfriend’s £11,600 Volvo motor while the couple were on holiday.

Easton was tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

He was found not guilty of arson after just over an hour of deliberation.

Easton, 46, of Broughton Road, South Shields, told the jury he had barely spoken to Pc Henderson during eight years of living next to each other.

Easton said he was at home when the officer’s car was torched and had been woken by the sound of the fire brigade.