A 20-year-old man accused of breaking into and setting fire to vacant earthquake-damaged homes in Christchurch swore at the judge when he appeared in court today.

The man, who has interim name suppression, appeared on 10 charges including arson, attempted arson, wilful damage, burglary, and disorderly behaviour.

He is yet to enter a plea.

He was remanded in custody by Judge Brian Callaghan to reappear on January 18 at a district court hearing at Christchurch Men's Prison.

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As he was taken away from the dock by police, the man shouted comments across the court to his lawyer and partner, then profanities at Judge Callaghan.

Police allege he broke into three vacant earthquake-damaged homes in Woolston to steal hot water cylinders.

One home he allegedly set alight on January 2 was left moderately damaged.

Police are investigating similar incidents in the area.