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Boy, 16, admits torching Dunfermline nursery garden

The nursery garden at Pitreavie Primary School, Dunfermline, which was destroyed by fire on Oct 30, 2020.
The nursery garden at Pitreavie Primary School, Dunfermline, which was destroyed by fire on Oct 30, 2020.

A sixteen-year-old boy has admitted torching a nursery garden in Dunfermline.

The teenager appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on Tuesday and admitted to wilful fireraising at an outdoor learning area attached to Pitreavie Primary.

The aftermath of the fire at Pitreavie Primary Nursery.

On October 30, last year, the youth – who cannot be named for legal reasons – set fire to fence panels at the Glenbervie Grove garden.

The flames spread, damaging the panels and wooden play structures.

Depute Fiscal Claire Bremner told the court: “At around 11.48pm, firefighters attended following reports of a fire.

“It was fully extinguished by 11.59pm.

“Firefighters continued to hose down the area to cool it.”

CCTV probe

Police used videos of the blaze, which were posted on social media, as part of their investigation.

The school janitor also contacted police after reviewing the primary’s own CCTV footage. It showed three people at the scene.

The damage, thought to be in the region of £1,000, extended to a mud kitchen, fence panels and other play structures.

Sheriff James Williamson deferred sentencing on the first offender until September 13.

Community campaign

A fundraising appeal was launched by locals following the fire. Within days it raised more than £3,000 to replace and repair structures and play equipment.

Left to right: Early Years Officers Miss Rachel O’Bole, Miss Lynette Thomson and Mrs Caroline Russell, Pitreavie Primary School, thanking the community for its support.

Speaking at the time, headteacher Debbie Broadley expressed her shock and sadness.

“Our close community is devastated by the damage caused to our school environment,” she said.

“The nursery children’s play space was ruined thanks to the anti social behaviour of these individuals who have no idea of the distress they have caused.”

She said the fire did not spread to the school building. “But that’s little consolation to the children who love to spend time outdoors,” she added.

Members of the community got involved in a major clear-up operation after the blaze.

A temporary place for the children’s outdoor play and learning was also created.

Fundraiser

Parent Council chairperson Sasha Pender set up a fundraising page to help the school recover.

She wrote: “The staff have worked tirelessly to provide an outdoor learning space for the children and in a second it has been destroyed.

“Due to Covid, the outdoor learning area is needed now more than ever.”

She added: “The staff at Pitreavie have been overwhelmed by the support they have received and the money will allow the nursery to rebuild the best garden they can for the children.”

The nursery last month held its graduation ceremony in the new look outdoor area, in an event that was blessed with sunshine.

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