Outrage at ‘laughing’ arsonists

Councillors Fred Heyworth and Tony Kelly outside Wade Halll Children's Centre, Leyland
Councillors Fred Heyworth and Tony Kelly outside Wade Halll Children's Centre, Leyland
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Teenage arsonists who torched an ‘outstanding’ Leyland children’s centre were seen joking around after carrying out the attack.

The youths, caught on CCTV, targeted the Wade Hall Children’s Centre in the early hours of the morning, and have now been blasted by furious members of the community.

The young offenders set fire to a commercial wheelie bin before pushing it up against the building’s wall.

Coun Fred Heyworth, who represents the Lowerhouse ward in Leyland, said: “It is absolutely shocking. They could have burnt down the entire children’s centre; it’s outrageous.

“And they were that stupid that they were seen on the CCTV footage on top of the wheelie bin after they set fire to it.

“They were jumping up and down like Bill and Ben the Flower Pot Men!”

The manager of the children’s centre, which is next door to The Place youth centre on Royal Avenue, is also horrified by the attack.

Maria Neil said: “They actually pushed the wheelie bin up to the side of the building, so it could have been so much worse.

“This centre is here for the community, so they’re damaging the whole area.

“It’s really awful.

“People have a lot of respect for the centre, but it’s the summer holidays and some people are obviously up to no good.”

The children’s centre includes a nursery which is full to capacity, with 34 children using it five days a week.

The venue also welcomes family groups and hosts play sessions, health and midwife visits.

“It’s a very popular facility,” Maria added. “We’ve been open seven years now and nothing like this has happened to us before.

“It’s the hub of the community, and it has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

“It’s such a shame this has happened. It could have affected the Place centre or people’s homes next door, which would have been absolutely dreadful.”

Emergency crews were called at around 5am on Tuesday, August 13.

Leyland’s police inspecto, Alison Barff-Lewis, said: “It’s a despicable act to try to destroy something as valuable as this in the

community.

“We are investigating.”