Teenager admits Norwich Rowing Club and church arson

A teenage arsonist set fire to a rowing club and a church, causing �40,000 worth of damage.

The 13-year-old from the Loddon area admitted arson at Norwich Youth Court yesterday.

He started the blaze at Norwich Rowing Club on Whitlingham Lane on June 15 and at a church in Westhall, north Suffolk on July 17.

The court heard the boy, who can not be identified for legal reasons, was supposed to meet a friend at the rowing club, but when he did not turn up he became upset. The teenager then went into the club house's store room, found some matches and started the fire.

James Conway from the rowing club said: 'The damage means that since June 15 we have not had facilities such as showers, changing rooms or a bar.

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'We have an outside mobile kitchen, tents to change in and no showers.'

But thanks to the work of volunteers, the club is hoping to move back into the building in a few weeks.

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The court also heard that the rector of St Andrew's Church in Westhall was called on July 17 at around 5.45pm to reports of a fire at the church. He found the vestry screen scorched and blackened and a carpet destroyed.

The teenager admitted he had gone to the church with his mother and lit a candle in the vestry which then fell over.

Lisa Britton, prosecuting, said the boy confessed to his mother that he had started the fires.

He also admitted stealing an iPhone worth �500 on July 20 in Norwich.

The boy said: 'I do feel really upset. I wish I had never done it.'

Adjourning the case for sentencing, district judge Peter Veits warned him: 'I can't rule out the possibility of custody. The offences you committed are very serious.'

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