A TEENAGER who caused almost £200,000 worth of damage when he set fire to a Penarth business will pay back just £500.

On August 19, 2022, a 16-year-old set fire to boxes in a doorway at the Queen B Boutique, which took off, devastating the shop.

Today at Cardiff Magistrates Court, Janaury 31, the teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced.

The Crown Prosecution Service revealed the true extent of the damage caused by the fire on Stanwell Road that fateful evening.

Around 850 items of Jodie Tanner’s stock was destroyed, including handbags, shoes and dresses - that could cost as much as £1,000.

Ms Tanner estimated stock value destroyed was £100,000 and retail value an incredible £200,000.

The firm that run Washington Building, where Queen B rent units seven to ten, estimated it cost £40,000 to get the building back to standard, with air filtration units having to be used and cleaning and decorating costs running to over £20,000.

In a hammer blow to the matter, Ms Tanner was only insured for £75,000 worth of damage, with her insurance costs having gone up from £1,700 a month to £18,000 after the event.

In an impact statement, Ms Tanner said she was not sure she had the will to start the business again having just rebuilt it after the pandemic.

In court, the defendant admitted his actions were "stupid" and "reckless", and said he did not know why he lit the boxes that night.

Credit was given for the defendant’s guilty plea and the fact he had never previously appeared in court.

In an impassioned plea from the defendant’s mother, she said her son had tried his best since the incident, and was on a bad path back then.

Penarth Times:

The fire devastated Jodie Tanner's Queen B Boutique

Penarth Times:

The Queen B's occasion wear business was wiped out by the fire

Magistrates had considered a custodial sentence because of the seriousness of the incident, however due to the defendant having no previous recorded convictions, and his compliance with a recent behaviour contract, this was avoided.

But, in a hammer blow to what was described as, “losers everywhere,” including Ms Tanner, her insurance company, and the owner of Washington Buildings, magistrates concluded financial penalties were unable to be awarded in any amount that would compensate those affected.

Instead, the defendant was given a 12-month “intensive referral order”, meaning the defendant will meet a panel of people who will help talk to him about his offending. He also has to sign a “behaviour contract” that included:

  • agreeing to 60 hours community reparation;
  • restorative options being made open to the victims;
  • not to be in possession of a lighter or any other items that might start a fire for 12 months;
  • curfew from 7pm to 7am to run for three months;
  • cannot enter Penarth town centre for three months;
  • not allowed to enter premises he has not been invited to, or abandoned buildings for a period of 12 months;
  • not to associate with certain people (who cannot be named for legal reasons) for 12 months.

Ms Tanner was awarded £500 compensation, which will be paid by the defendant’s mother at a rate of £20 a month, starting February 28.