Police arrested a young man after he was seen to torch three cars in one street in the early hours of the morning.
Leeds Crown Court heard a witness was having a cigarette outside his home on February 16 when he suddenly heard the sound of broken glass in the area of Kingsmill Lane, Newsome.
He looked over and saw a figure leaning through a broken window of a Renault Megane car and using his lighter to set fire to the seats.
As fire spread in that vehicle the male moved on to do the same to a Suzuki Swift and a Toyota Aygo parked nearby.
Adam Walker, prosecuting, said the first witness and a neighbour who had also come out to investigate were able to flag down a passing police car and point out the person responsible for the three blazing vehicles.
That person was Luke Daley who said when told he was being arrested: “What for those little fires. Are you kidding?”
Mr Walker told the court the Toyota was worth £7,905, the Suzuki £3,100 and the Renault was valued at £1,000 but also had £500 worth of tools inside.
Peter Byrne, representing Daley, said: “He is at a loss to explain his behaviour.”
He said Daley was affected by alcohol and the probation report on him said at one point he had suggested he wanted to steal something from the first car but then panicked about his fingerprints and decided to set fire to it, but that could not explain his subsequent actions.
“He really doesn’t understand why he did what he did but realises he is in a very serious position.”
Mr Byrne said being on remand in custody had already had a significant effect on him. Fortunately for him his family were being supportive and visiting when they could.
Daley, 20, of Ashenhurst Rise, Newsome, admitted three offences of arson and was sent to a young offender institution for two years.
Judge Neil Clark told him: “On February 16 for no obvious reason at about 2.30am you were seen smashing the window a car then setting fire to it by applying a lighter to the seat. You then moved immediately from that car and did the same thing to two others.”
That created an obvious risk to firefighters and others because of the danger of petrol in those vehicles and while he accepted Daley’s remorse was genuine, he had to receive an immediate custodial sentence.