A man high on methamphetamine set fire to six bins in the Albany CBD last year as a “cry for help”. Michael Garry Scanlan, 41, was sentenced for two counts of criminal damage by fire in Albany District Court last Thursday. Scanlan appeared via video link from Albany Regional Prison, where he has been in custody since November. The court was told Scanlan was captured on CCTV walking along a laneway behind Amcal Pharmacy on York Street about 11.20pm on October 12. Judge Amanda Burrows said five minutes later, Scanlan used a lighter to set fire to cardboard boxes inside a bin behind the pharmacy, destroying five bins belonging to the business. “It also caused significant damage to the building structure, including damage to the historic brickwork, the windows, and an external light fixture,” she said. The damage bill came to an estimated $15,000 for the building and $1475 for the bins. Scanlan then used the same lighter to set fire to cardboard in a bin behind Toyworld on Peels Place. The bin was destroyed at a cost of about $1495. Firefighters were called to both scenes to extinguish the blazes. Defence lawyer Elizabeth Hamilton said Scanlan had been diagnosed with “underlying mental health issues”, but he maintained he was aware of his actions and lit the fires deliberately. “His words were, ‘It really was a cry for help’,” she said. Judge Burrows said Scanlan told police a “spirit” had told him to light the fires. She said his actions could have had an impact on people’s livelihoods if they had spread to surrounding businesses. “You made a deliberate decision to light the fires, knowing what you were doing,” she said. “And the driving force for lighting the fires was so that you would go back to prison so that you could get treatment for your methamphetamine addiction and stable accommodation.” Scanlan was on a community-based order at the time of the incident. He was sentenced to 2.5 years in prison, backdated to November 18.