A teenager set fire to a boathouse in Norwich, causing £40,000 of damage, because he was angry his friend did not show up, a court has heard.

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The 13-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to arson at the Norwich Rowing Club, Whitlingham Lane, Norwich, on June 15 this year.

He appeared at Norwich Youth Court yesterday to be sentenced after also admitting another count of arson, at Westhall Church, Halesworth, Suffolk, on July 17 and the theft of a mobile phone on July 20.

Denis King, prosecuting, said staff at the rowing club were contacted by the fire service about the fire which was thought to have left the clubhouse “beyond financial repair”.

Mr King said the youth made “full and frank admissions” to the offence at Whitlingham and the arson at the church, the damage to which is as yet unknown, to police.

He said he had been dropped off at the clubhouse to meet a friend but became “quite angry” when he was not there and “found some matches and set fire to some paper” in the office, left it and carried on canoeing.

Malcolm Robins, mitigating, urged the court to consider a very “thorough, detailed and understanding” pre-sentence report which gave a “warts and all” account of his life and “what has been thrust upon this young man”. He was sentenced to a 12-month referral order supervised by the youth offending team.

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