Michael Whitty, 47, set fire to equipment at a tower owned by Vodafone UK at Kirby in Merseyside, having researched theories linking 5G to the spread of Covid-19.
According to The Liverpool Echo, he was caught having left gloves that contained his DNA at the scene on 5 April. He had 29 previous convictions, including for assault and for possession of a firearm, according to the BBC. Whitty is a father of three.
He pleaded guilty at Liverpool Crown Court and is the first person to be prosecuted for such an attack in the UK.
A delivery driver saw three men running away from the mast and stamped out it the fire before the emergency services arrived. The other two have not been identified.
Photos and videos of other phone masts around Liverpool were found on Whitty’s phone which was seized in a search of his home.
Vodafone estimated damage caused by the fire cost £10,000 and £15,000, and it took 11 days to get the mast fully functioning again, leaving the operator’s customers with little or poor service in the meantime.
It took 11 days after the arson before the mast was functioning again, with Vodafone customers having “poor service or no service” during this time.
It was one of 13 attacks on phone masts in the area at the time, many of which did not have 5G equipment.