Youths in court over Leyland school fire

Leyland St Mary's Catholic Technology College after the fire
Leyland St Mary's Catholic Technology College after the fire
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Five youths have appeared in court charged with arson following a fire which caused £20m damage to a Leyland school.

The boys, aged between 11 and 15, who can not be identified for legal reasons, did not enter any pleas to the charge of arson being reckless as they sat side by side in the dock at Preston Crown Court.

The youngsters spoke only to confirm their names during the brief hearing.

They will return to court on August 5 for a plea and case management hearing.

Leyland St Mary’s Catholic Technology College was devastated by the fire which broke out on September 1, two days before the school was due to start back for the Autumn term.

Fire crews from across Lancashire battled for more than eight hours to bring the fire under control.

At its height 20 fire engines and 120 fire fighters were at the scene as hundreds of onlookers took to the streets as the fire took hold.

Following the blaze pupils were unable to return to school for two weeks while a temporary school was set up at the former Ribbleton Hall High School, in Preston.

Pupils from all five year groups were transported by bus daily with years eight and nine remaining on the temporary site until Christmas.

Temporary classrooms have now been constructed at the school in Royal Avenue, Leyland, and classes continue to take place in them while the reconstruction of the 1950s school takes place.

It is anticipated the school will be rebuilt by 2015.

A trial date has been set for October 27 in respect of the boys accused of being responsible for the fire.

Meanwhile, the boys are on bail with the condition they do not associate with or contact each other except at school.