Ipswich schoolboys behind £26,000 arson walk free from crown court

The fire took place in Parade Road - stock photo

The fire took place in Parade Road - stock photo - Credit: Archant

Two Ipswich schoolboys who started a £26,000 fire which caused serious damage to a terraced house in the town have walked free from court after a judge decided not to lock them up.

The boys, who were both 13 at the time of the blaze in Parade Road last July, turned on the gas supply at the unoccupied property and set light to paper on a gas hob, Ipswich Crown Court heard. They left the two-bedroom house as the flames spread. The fire brigade was alerted after a neighbour’s smoke alarm went off, said Godfried Duah, prosecuting.

The house was “severely” damaged and neighbouring properties suffered smoke damage.

The court heard the damage cost in the region of £26,000.

The two boys, who cannot be named because of their age, admitted arson on July 2 and were each given a 12-month referral order.

Sentencing them, Judge David Goodin described what they had done as “astonishingly irresponsible and stupid”.

He said he could have sentenced them to a detention and training order but he was satisfied that a referral order during which the boys will be supervised and attend one-to-one and group sessions to address their offending behaviour was the best course to take.

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The court heard on the day of the fire one of the boys was not at school and the other had been in the morning but then decided to leave.

They had gone to the house in Parade Road which was empty and was in the process of being transferred to a housing association for renovation.

The gas and electricity supplies had been turned off for safety reasons but the boys had turned the gas back on and set light to paper on the gas hob.

Mr Duah said the boys blamed each other for starting the fire.

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