Arsonists destroy shed full of children’s toys

IPSWICH: Pupils starting a new term at a special school have been robbed of cherished play equipment by arsonists.

Beacon Hill School, in Stone Lodge Lane West, was targeted twice in two days by firestarters who first set light to a compost area and then torched a shed containing hundreds of pounds worth of outdoor toys.

Site manager Andy Austin was shocked to find the first fire still smouldering when he arrived at the school on Monday morning.

After spending the day clearing up after the blaze, Mr Austin went home, only to be called an hour later by the fire service, who were busy extinguishing flames which tore through an �800 shed.

Mr Austin said the school simply can’t afford to replace the shed or the toys it once housed. And everyone at the school is now concerned it might become a target for arsonists again.

Mr Austin said: “The shed and everything inside it have been destroyed. We’ve lost a shed we had for three years and can’t afford to replace it.

“Everybody is gutted, especially as we were lucky to have very few problems over the summer holiday.

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“We’re concerned they might come back to burn our other two sheds down.”

Arsonists struck first between 9am on Sunday and 5.45am on Monday morning. Whoever was responsible broke into a shed and stole paper towels and other items to fuel the fire.

The second, and more damagingl blaze, was started at around 8pm on Monday.

Mr Austin said: “The compost fire was bad enough. It had been purpose built to deal with the falling leaves in the autumn. One of the tress was badly damaged by the flames and the rest are at risk if another fire is started.”

Police are treating the incidents as arson and any witnesses should contact Pc Matthew Milton on 01473 613500.

n Do schools need more protection from criminals? Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.