THE parents of a 12-year-old boy who committed arson at a care home must pay £1,000 towards the £6,000 clean-up bill.
A number of residents, some in wheelchairs, had to be evacuated from a fire at Peterlee Care Home.
A youth, who cannot be named because of his age, admitted arson being reckless as to whether property was destroyed or damaged.
Prosecuting Janet Coxon told Peterlee Magistrates’ Court the blaze caused £6,000 of damage by destroying an armchair in the foyer of the Westcott Road-based home and smoke damage to walls.
She said a worker at the nearby Huntercombe House care home was alerted by the boy, who offered to call 999 on his mobile.
A statement from Denise Merritt, a Peterlee Care Home senior worker, said: “The fire alarm sounded and I became aware of a small fire in the porch area, as a result of which we had cause to arrange for some of the residents to be evacuated.”
In police interview, the boy said he had been sat on a chair and lit some threads on a cushion.
He put the flame out but re-lit it and the cushion began to burn.
Ms Coxon said: “He said he had seen somebody in a wheelchair and saw the occupants were elderly and disabled and he was remorseful and regretted his actions.”
Alongside the arson, from November 28, last year, the boy also admitted a burglary at a South Hetton community centre on September 18 and stealing cigarettes on October 27.
Neil Bennett, mitigating, said the boy’s family were already engaged in community support and added: “He understands that doing a certain thing is wrong to do.
“It’s the consequence of that he has to think about.”
Chairman of the magistrates’ bench William Brown sentenced the boy to an 18-month youth rehabilitation order with supervision and an activity requirement, with £1,000 compensation to pay.