Arsonists' parents feel the heat

TWO shamefaced young arsonists are today rueing mischief-making which will cost their parents nearly £4,000 each.The boys, aged 11 and 12, apologised to Ipswich Youth Court after they admitted setting off an unintentional, but expensive, chain of events ending in two shed fires which destroyed tools worth almost £7,000.

TWO shamefaced young arsonists are today rueing mischief-making which will cost their parents nearly £4,000 each.

The boys, aged 11 and 12, apologised to Ipswich Youth Court after they admitted setting off an unintentional, but expensive, chain of events ending in two shed fires which destroyed tools worth almost £7,000.

Now they will have to face the continued wrath of their parents who must scrimp and save to pay £162 per month for the next two years to compensate for the youngsters' silly prank.

Both admitted criminal damage by fire following the blaze in Sandpiper Road, Ipswich, last Friday.


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Prosecutor John Hardwick told magistrates the boys had been seen trying to set light to bits of paper in a tree.

The younger boy failed to get a piece to ignite because of the breeze. The older boy then made a windbreak, the paper caught alight and he put in the tree.

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Although the pair had not intended it to, the blaze took hold, spread to a fence and ended up destroying two sheds belonging to resident Brian Roper. The total value of the sheds and tools was said to be £7,040.

The tree and fence, which belonged to a neighbour, were worth £800.

One youngster was accompanied in court by his mum, while the elder one had his mother and father with him.

All three parents looked extremely unhappy with the children, neither of whom had been in trouble before.

Representing the younger boy Ian Duckworth said in mitigation: "My clients are absolutely devastated as a family.

"It seems to be a prank that went horribly wrong. The garden shed was owned by an individual who had put a lot of belongings in it.

"This is something that happened totally out of the blue. He's been dealt with appropriately if not in draconian fashion.

"He's been grounded for 12 months. All rights have been curtailed. His bike has been taken off him as has his music and TV."

Asked by chairman of the bench Bernard Hindes if he had anything to say, the younger boy replied: "I'm sorry for doing it."

His mum said: "It is totally out of character. They are both lovely lads. I don't know how it happened."

The elder boy also apologised to the court and his mum echoed the sentiments of the mother of his friend adding: "I just can't believe he did it."

Mr Hindes told both boys they would be made subject of referral orders for three months, which if completed successfully would mean they would not have a criminal record.

However the body blow for both sets of parents was that he ordered each to pay for half of the damage.

Just before they left the court Mr Hindes said to the boys: "Be good to your parents. You owe them a lot."

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