A WORKER who set fire to his employer's factory causing damage estimated at #2m and putting colleagues' jobs at risk, was jailed for five years yesterday.

John Potter, 28, was convicted of starting a blaze at the K.V Wooster (International) model aircraft plant in Campbeltown, Argyllshire, on October 7 last year.

The firm had to lay off about half of its 63workforce, although most of them are now back at work.

Wooster, the second biggest employer in the area, is currently operating from a split site but hopes to have a new factory open by the end of the year.

Potter, described as a prisoner, worked in the factory's moulding shop at the Snipefield industrial estate. He was arrested by police in his home area of Motherwell about three weeks after the fire.

He denied the charge but was found guilty after trial at the High Court in Kilmarnock. Lord Abernethy deferred sentence until yesterday for psychiatric reports.

At the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday, the judge told Potter: ``You did an immense amount of damage and also seriously damaged the livelihoods of a considerable number of people.''

After yesterday's sentence, Wooster's managing director, Mr Roger Clark, paid tribute to his workforce for helping to ensure the survival of the company.

``The workforce have been magnificent. They were desperate to get back to work and they have done nearly all the fabrication work to get the temporary premises up and running.''

Mr Clark said Potter had worked with the firm since January last year and that he did not know why he had started the fire. A few weeks before the blaze, the company had agreed to give Potter a loan since he was short of money.