Case adjourned for Crumbles blaze teenagers

TWO TEENAGERS due to be sentenced for starting the fire which caused damage running into millions of pounds at the Crumbles Retail Park just before Christmas last year have had their case adjourned.

The two, who are both from Eastbourne but cannot be named because of legal reasons, were to appear before a district judge in court at Hastings on Wednesday morning to be sentenced for arson.

But the case against them was adjourned because pre-sentence reports were not ready. They will return to court next Wednesday.

The 18-year-old and 17-year-old youth both admitted starting the fire on the night of December 11 last year. The blaze was started at the rear of the shops and caused major structural damage to Boots and smoke damage to Next, Matalan and Sports Direct.

It is reckoned to have cost £9 million in damage to the retail park

Boots was totally rebuilt and all the stores were forced to close for several weeks during the run up to Christmas – their busiest time of year – and throw away hundreds of thousands of pounds of stock.

At an earlier hearing the court heard the boys had set fire to cardboard in a metal trolley at the back of the store and it quickly got out of control.

More than 80 firefighters tackled the blaze as it ripped through the store. Shoppers were evacuated and no one was hurt.

The two teenagers, aged 16 and 17 at the time of the fire, were arrested a few days later and charged with arson in July this year.