A DETAINEE who admitted starting a fire at the Campsfield House immigration centre to avoid deportation has been jailed.

Farid Pardiaz yesterday pleaded guilty to one count of arson in relation to the fire at the centre in Langford Lane, Kidlington, on October 18 last year.

The 25-year-old Afghanistan national was jailed for 32 months and was told by a judge at Oxford Crown Court he will almost certainly be sent home when his sentence is served.

John Law, prosecuting, said the fire was started in Pardiaz’s cell when he used a lighter on a blanket and caused “catastrophic” damage to the centre.

He told Judge Mary Jane Mowat that in total the cost of repairing the damage and rehousing the 178 inmates was £924,300.

The barrister said Pardiaz suffered from smoke inhalation in the fire but no-one else was injured.

Mr Law added that it was at least three months before the block could be used again and a sprinkler system had now been installed.

Timothy Greaves, defending, said his client started the blaze out of “desperation” because he was due to be deported, but had not realised it would spread.

But Judge Mowat said while she had sympathy for the defendant, she had to respect the fact that his asylum claim and appeal had both been dismissed in 2009.

She added that it was ironic the only option available to her was effectively giving Pardiaz what he wanted by delaying his deportation.

He will also have to pay a £120 victims’ surcharge.