FULL METAL JACKET star Matthew Modine has escaped prosecution after he was charged with sparking a fire that caused damage to a neighbour's property in Millbrook, New York state.

A jury in New York heard on Wednesday (23NOV05) that the actor started the fire in April 2003 to clear debris and foliage on his property but didn't take necessary precautionary steps to limit the bonfire.

His neighbours at the time, JULIA and NIGEL WIDDOWSON, claimed the blaze wrecked trees on their property and were seeking $43,000 (GBP23,890) in damages.

The Poughkeepsie, New York jury agreed with Modine's lawyer ROSE COTTER, who argued there was no permanent damage.