A BALLARAT man torched a car out of revenge while the victim and his son slept in a cabin nearby, a court has heard.
Ballarat Magistrates Court yesterday heard that Luke Leslie Stockdale, 24, had been drinking in Dramana with two others one night last February when he decided to go down to a local caravan park.
There Stockdale gained entry to a Ford sedan and used a cigarette lighter to set fire to a towel he found inside.
The trio then ran off to one of their houses.
Stockdale appeared in court yesterday, where he pleaded guilty arson, as well as separate charges of burglary and theft.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Clint Prebble said there were several other campers nearby at the time of the fire, as well as a number of gas bottles, which put the park at risk.
When interviewed by police, Stockdale said he torched the car because the victim had been harassing one of his friends.
Stockdale also faced court over a burglary committed last April, in which he and another person broke into a Dromana home and stole a television and two bottles of alcohol.
The next day he sold the TV to Cash Converters for $120.
Defence lawyer Fotini Panagiotidis agreed the offending was "extremely serious".
"What could have happened with that arson could have been catastrophic and we wouldn't be here today, we'd be in a higher court," she said.
"Petrol in the car could blow up right near where the owners were residing."
But Ms Panagiotidis was successful in arguing that Stockdale ought not to be jailed.
He was eventually sentenced to a 12-month community corrections order including 130 hours of unpaid community work.
He was also ordered to pay more than $2000 in compensation.
"The law must be obeyed by everybody even if you get cross, even if you think someone else has done the wrong thing," magistrate Kay Robertson said in sentencing.
"You don't take the law into your own hands."
Ms Robertson said the effects of residential burglaries rippled through the community.