London: A man was jailed for three years on Monday in northwest England for setting fire to a 5G mast following fears the technology was dangerous and spreading the coronavirus.
Michael Whitty, 47, carried out internet searches for theories linking 5G to the coronavirus before setting fire to the equipment box of a Vodafone mast in Kirkby, Merseyside.
The father-of-three pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court to last month's attack.
"In my view there was here a high degree of planning and pre-meditation," judge Thomas Teague told the court.
"There was use of firelighters and, in the sense that the aim was to put the mast out of action, there was intent to cause very serious damage to property."
When police searched Whitty's home firelighters were found and analysis of his phone showed he had carried out searches for 5G technology.
The phone also revealed videos of other phone masts in the Liverpool area.
A charity volunteer, Whitty had 29 previous convictions, including for assault and possession of a firearm, the court heard.
At the time, the attack was one of 13 carried out on phone masts on Merseyside.
Dozens of attacks also took place nationwide after a conspiracy theory took hold that 5G masts were somehow responsible for the transmission of the pandemic.
According to the theory, electromagnetic radiation causes the symptoms of COVID-19, not a virus - an idea debunked by scientists.