A DURSLEY woman who had the 'bright idea' of burning ivy off the front of her council house with a flame thrower has been fined £1,000 after a judge heard that she damaged the home of her elderly neighbours as well as her own.

Dina Whitehouse, 40, had bought the flame thrower from a supermarket and was trying to burn the ivy which had reached her daughter's bedroom window - but trouble flared when she stood on an old tree stump to get more height, Gloucester Crown Court heard.

She was wearing flip flops and slipped off the stump while still holding the flame thrower, said her solicitor, Steve Young.

Other vegetation was also set alight as she fell and damage was done to the brickwork and windows of the houses.

Fining her £1,000 and ordering her to pay £101 compensation and £250 costs, Judge Ian Lawrie QC told her she had been 'stupid, if not foolish' and had disregarded health and safety.

Whitehouse, of Rangers Avenue, Dursley, had originally been charged with arson endangering life but at an earlier hearing the prosecution agreed that she had been over charged.

She pleaded guilty yesterday to a less serious charge of damaging a building belonging to Stroud District Council by arson on July 22 2018.

The charge said she caused £101.26 worth of damage to windows and brickwork.

Mr Young told the court Whitehouse "had been trying to remove ivy from the wall of the house she has lived in for the past 18 years.

“The ivy had reached her daughter’s bedroom window which caused bugs to enter the room. She had asked her partner to deal with it, but he refused.

“After seeing a flame thrower in a supermarket, she had the bright idea of using it to solve the problem.

“She had successfully completed the first three feet when she decided she needed additional height and made use of a tree stump to stand on.

“But because she was wearing flip flops, she fell off and the flame thrower caught the vegetation alight. Being green it didn’t catch fire, but smouldered and became very smoky.

“Buckets of water were thrown on the undergrowth but the fire did not go out and so the fire services were called to extinguish the fire.

“Whitehouse admits what she did was reckless as it damaged the neighbouring property owned by an elderly couple.”

Judge Lawrie said to Whitehouse: “The kindest thing I can say about your actions is that you were stupid, if not foolish. It was a complete disregard for health and safety.”

The judge fined Whitehouse £1,000 and ordered her to pay £101 compensation and court costs of £250.