A conspiracy theorist caused more than £100,000 of damage by setting fire to a 5G phone mast after previously covering himself in tin foil to protect himself from their waves.

"Delusional" online theories about the dangers posed by the technology sparked the drastic action and arson attack by David Patterson.

He set fire to one of the masts in Gateshead above a garage, causing between £100,000 and £150,000 damage to the mast and around £15,000 damage to the business. 

 Newcastle Crown Court heard Patterson was suffering a mental disorder at the time and had been adversely influenced by material he had read online.

Judge Sarah Mallett said: "He believed he was protecting his family and others, in reality, from the harm he thinks, in his delusional beliefs, was coming from the aerial."

Read more: Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, UK)