Scout group dealt second blow by vandals

DEVASTATED scouts who were counting the cost of an arson attack on their hut have been dealt a second blow after the damaged building was targeted by vandals.

Annie Davidson

DEVASTATED scouts who were counting the cost of an arson attack on their hut have been dealt a second blow after the damaged building was targeted by vandals.

The 1st Saxmundham Scout group had recently celebrated the installation of new flooring and a new kitchen at their meeting place in Rendham Road, Saxmundham.

So they were heartbroken to learn that fire had broken out in the hut in the early hours of Sunday morning, badly damaging much of the wooden structure and destroying equipment and irreplaceable archive material.

Now the group has been left counting the cost again after vandals broke into the insecure building and trashed the kitchen.

The destruction was discovered by 1st Saxmundham Scouts' quartermaster Stan White on Monday morning.

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He said: “They got in through the front door which unfortunately, after the fire, we couldn't completely close.

“There were some filing cabinets in the way but whoever it was got through, smashed the doors, the shutters, the windows and made a mess of the kitchen.

“All the utensils have been pulled out the draws and the tables and chairs have been broken.

“I just can't believe it. I was angry after the fire but it's worse now.

“We've got to make sure everything is insured and spend time clearing it all up.

“It's extremely disappointing.”

The scout group has vowed not to let the blaze - which took fire crews from Saxmundham and Leiston more than an hour to extinguish - to stop them from meeting.

The town's Rainbow, Brownies and Guide groups have already made arrangements to use Saxmundham Middle School as around 50 of the girls met at the scout hut on Tuesdays.

Brownie leader Sue Palmer, also district commissioner for Saxmundham and district for Rainbows, Brownies and Guides, said: “We're not just talking about Brownies and Guides but young leaders who were doing voluntary work for their CVs for their future careers.

“It's such a shame that someone feels that it's necessary to do that.

“It's going to be very disappointing for the girls to know the place where they were quite happy to spend their time has been destroyed.”

She added: “We had two suitcases full of archive material - there has been guiding here in Saxmundham for 90 years. “We were hoping the museum would put it on display because its guiding's centenary this year - but now that's all been lost.”

Police arrested a 17-year-old boy on suspicion of arson and later released him on bail pending further inquiries until July 23.

Anyone with information about the hut fire is asked to call PC Bloomfield on 01986 835300.