A FIRE that destroyed part of a store in Penarth started after a boy lit a cardboard box.

In August last year, the owner of the The Queen B Boutique was left devastated after a fire destroyed her occasion wear business.

At the time, owner Jodie Tanner said: "This is horrendous. In terms of the level of damage, it is catastrophic. My business is in utter devastation."

At Cardiff Magistrates Court on January 10, 2023, a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to the offence.

Magistrates heard how the fire brigade were contacted in the early hours of Friday, August 19, 2022, because of reports of a fire at the store on Stanwell Road.

The fire was put out, but not before structural damage was caused to the property and to stock inside.

Prosecution suggested that over £100,000 of damage was caused.

Using CCTV footage police tracked down the boy, who was arrested and admitted starting the fire.

In the CCTV footage, the defendant was seen in a doorway by cardboard recycling, playing with a lighter, then he sets fire to one of the boxes and walks away.

He thought the fire would go out and not catch hold, but, to the horror of the Queen B owner, the fire roared through part of her business.

It was said in court the boy admitted to being reckless and said his actions were stupid.

In mitigation, it was pointed out that there seemed to be no psychiatric issues with the defendant, however the matter was serious enough that it would require a pre-sentence report before sentencing.

Penarth Times:

(The Queen B on Stanwell Road was devastated by a fire in August last year which caused at least £100,000 of damage) 

The offence was so serious it could have been heard at crown court, however magistrates accepted jurisdiction of the case.

They said they needed to know more about the defendant before making a decision on sentence – which could still be deferred to crown court depending on the severity of the punishment deemed necessary.

The boy was released on bail under conditions which included not to enter Penarth town centre. He was also placed under a curfew from 7pm to 7am.

He will next appear at Cardiff Magistrates on January 31 for the pre-sentence report to be heard, with a view to sentencing.

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