These shocking pictures show just how much damage was caused by a blaze which ripped through a Little Sutton charity shop.

Lee Flaherty, 30, set fire to the Age UK store on Chester Road on January 3 as part of a crime spree which ran between January 2016 and May of this year.

He also torched the Claire House charity shop in Bromborough and a clothes shop in Middlesbrough, as well as burgling two stores in Bebington and Bromborough.

Flaherty, of Albert Road, Middlesbrough, appeared at Teeside Crown Court on Monday, December 4 when he was jailed for seven years, with a three-year extended licence, after being convicted of arson with intent, arson, burglary and attempted burglary.

Pictures released today by Cheshire Constabulary and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service show just how badly damaged the Little Sutton store was.

Firefighters inspect the gutted Age UK store

It is not clear why he targeted the shop, which had been trading on Chester Road for generations.

The building was gutted and all stock was either completely destroyed or fire damaged, making it worthless.

Detective Sergeant Robin Grantham, from Cheshire Police, said: “The actions taken by Flaherty were totally deplorable. He caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage and put people’s lives at risk.”

The Age UK shop was refurbished and reopened in August. In the aftermath of the fire, the charity was overwhelmed by the response from the local community who rallied round to raise money for them.

The store was closed for several months, such was the extent of the damage