Teenagers in court over huge blaze at retail park

TWO TEENAGERS appeared in court this week and denied starting a fire which caused millions of pounds of damage at the Crumbles Retail Park last year.

The two 17-year-old boys, who live in Eastbourne but cannot be named because they are under 18, pleaded not guilty to arson when they appeared before Hastings Youth Court on Wednesday morning.

They appeared before a district judge who agreed their trial should be held at the Hastings court. The case against both boys was adjourned for four weeks when they will return to court and be told the date for their trial.

The fire on Saturday December 11, at the retail park in Pevensey Bay Road, broke out at the back of Boots and spread inside to the store.

More than 80 firefighters were called in to tackle the fire and shoppers and staff within the retail park were evacuated from shops.

The blaze caused millions of pounds worth of damage to Boots and neighbouring shops Next, Matalan and Sports Direct. ASDA was also forced to close temporarily.

The affected stores were closed for weeks in the run up to the busy Christmas period, damaged stock was thrown away and Boots had to be demolished and completely rebuilt.

The other three stores underwent major facelifts.