Primary school arsonists in the dock

Headteacer Monica Middlehurst surveys the scene of devastation at RL Hughes Primary School
Headteacer Monica Middlehurst surveys the scene of devastation at RL Hughes Primary School
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A headteacher revealed the impact an arson attack had on her school, as the three culprits appeared in court.

Magistrates Court heard “every pupil and every member of staff” at RL Hughes Primary School in Ashton was affected by the blaze in 2016.

Nursery children had to finish early for Christmas, major repair work was needed and the school hall was used as a classroom after the fire.

In a statement read to the court, headteacher Monica Middlehurst said: “I am extremely disappointed that the actions of a small number of people have affected everyone at our school.”

Three boys, aged 14, 16 and 17, appeared in court yesterday, after earlier pleading guilty to arson, which caused damage worth £90,000.

District Judge Mark Hadfield said it was an “extremely serious” offence and was told the fire was started after the boys went into a shed to keep warm.

He imposed a 12-month intensive referral order for the boys aged 14 and 17, neither of whom had been in trouble before.

The 16-year-old boy was also sentenced for two assaults, using threatening words or behaviour, affray and breaching a criminal behaviour order by associating with the youngest boy.

The court heard the two assaults involved the same victim, who was hit with a plank of wood in one incident.

He was also part of a group who attacked a father and son enjoying a barbecue.

He was given a two-year youth rehabilitation order, with a 26-week curfew and 80 activity days.

Compensation of £100 each must also be paid to three victims.