School fire started by teen's cigarette

A TEENAGER who caused £15,000 worth of fire damage at a Felixstowe school failed to properly stub out a sneaky cigarette in the toilet.

A TEENAGER who caused £15,000 worth of fire damage at a Felixstowe school failed to properly stub out a sneaky cigarette in the toilet.

South East Suffolk Youth Court heard the 15-year-old had set light to toilet paper in a cubicle in a set of boys' lavatories at Orwell High School at an open evening for the community.

The building in Maidstone Road had to be evacuated as firefighters dealt with the blaze.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to causing the fire.

John Hardwick, prosecuting, said firefighters who attended the incident on October 7 said it appeared a toilet roll had been set alight.

The toilet pan had shattered in the heat, the cubicle was destroyed and there were scorch marks on the wall. The toilet block was smoke damaged and firefighters had to pull down the ceiling to check the roof space in case the fire spread.

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No accelerant had been used.

“In interview, the boy initially denied causing the fire but afterwards admitted smoking in the toilet cubicle and stubbing out his cigarette on toilet paper,” said Mr Hardwick.

He denied deliberately starting the blaze but admitted he had been reckless.

The court was told the teenager had some special educational needs and it was necessary to compile a pre-sentence report.

The bench adjourned the case until November 11 and warned the boy that all sentencing options would be kept open because of the seriousness of the offence, including the possibility of sending the matter to the crown court if the magistrates felt their powers of punishment were not enough.

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