A mentally ill arsonist torched his room at a special hospital after staff let him have ten lighters.

Stephen Perkins, 37, was detained at Ashen Hill mental unit in Hellingly, near Hailsham, after he was sectioned for repeatedly starting fires.

But despite the concerns of his mother, workers at the unit refused to take lighters off him saying he needed to learn to take responsibility for his actions.

Instead when Perkins set fire to his room on March 4 hospital bosses contacted police and pushed for him to be prosecuted.

Yesterday he pleaded guilty to arson at Hove Crown Court and was told he could be detained in a psychiatric unit indefinitely.

Mother Nicola Perkins criticised Ashen Hill staff for allowing her son to smoke and keep a lighter in his room despite his history of starting fires.

A spokesman for Sussex Partnership NHS Trust, which is responsible for mental healthcare provision in the county, refused to comment on the case.