Arson charges dropped against Peterlee schoolboys

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TWO schoolchildren charged with arson have had the case against them withdrawn.

The 14-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy, who are both from the Peterlee area and cannot be named for legal reasons, faced the allegation after a fire in a newly-built house in Eden Court, Horden, on Friday, March 11.

The blaze caused £25,000 in damage and left the property in such an unsafe state, its owner, Holystone Development, took the decision to knock down the end-terrace building.

The incident left the company £2,500 out of pocket through the excess to insurers.

The house had been sealed up by builders awaiting sale as the estate, on land once home to the village’s Big Club, had been hit by the credit crunch.

The girl and boy were charged alongside an 11-year-old boy.

They denied the offence, but the younger boy admitted arson.

He was sentenced to a six-month referral order and his father was ordered to pay £500 in compensation in April.

The other children were due to stand trial at the end of last month, but the case was adjourned the day before at the request of their solicitors and relisted for September 8.

It has since been withdrawn by prosecutors.