Sly cigarette leads to court order

A TEENAGER who caused £15,000 worth of fire damage at a Felixstowe school when he failed to stub out a cigarette is today under a supervision order.

A TEENAGER who caused £15,000 worth of fire damage at a Felixstowe school when he failed to stub out a cigarette is today under a supervision order.

South East Suffolk Youth Court heard that the 15-year-old was having a crafty cigarette in the boys' toilets at Orwell High School during an open evening for the community when he stubbed out his cigarette on some toilet paper. He is not a pupil at the school.

However the court heard that the cigarette had not properly extinguished which caused the toilet pan to shatter in the heat and destroyed the cubicle.

The building in Maidstone Road ended up being evacuated as firefighters dealt with the blaze on October 7.

The toilet block was smoke damaged and firefighters had to pull down the ceiling to check the roof space in case the fire spread.

No accelerant had been used.

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The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons and has some special educational needs, pleaded guilty to causing the fire and admitted he had been reckless.

John Hughes, mitigating said: “He is truly remorseful about what happened. He shows a level of maturity in talking about the embarrassment this has caused for his family and then there is a level of immaturity as he doesn't think through the consequences of what can happen.

“He is very aware now of what could have happened and is horrified.”

The youth said: “I'm truly sorry for what happened. I'm truly grateful that nobody got hurt because of my carelessness.”

Magistrates imposed a supervision order with the Youth Offending Team for 18 months as well as a £1,000 fine.

Tony Baker, chairman of the bench, said: “We do not find you dangerous but we find you extremely silly. That silliness could have had very onerous consequences. Fire sometimes gets out of control and it can spread through a building quickly and endanger people's lives.”

Have you been affected by a fire? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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