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Vandals turn arsonists at derelict school

Monday, 30th April 2012.

Vandals struck again overnight at the boarded-up Castle Hill Middle School buildings in School Lane.

It added to 24 hours of criminal damage in the area as someone vandalised the Castle Playing Fields sign with spray paint yesterday and also sprayed the Haverhill Rugby Club premises.

Police said today they have experienced a series of trespass and criminal damage incidents at the redundant schools in Haverhill which are awaiting demolition, particularly Castle Hill.

PCSO Les Scott said the premises had been targeted with graffit, broken glass, damage and theft of metals. On this occasion there was arson as well and the fire service were called.

The fire was reported just after 8am this morning. Two crews from Haverhill attended the derelict school and found there was smoke issuing from a skylight on the roof.

A team wearing breathing apparatus and using a thermal imaging camera were committed to the building to locate the seat of fire.

Crews found a small fire in the gym area which was extinguished and they then continued to check for hotspots and the area was ventilated.

The fire was deliberately started and PCSO Scott said the fire service would have to assume there might be people inside a building when they arrived so would have to put themselves at risk by going in.

"These are dangerous places," he said. "We had to go in and felt very uncomfortable. If it's at night it is completely dark and there is broken glass everywhere.

"There is not just the risk to the vandals themselves but to fire officers as well."

Suffolk County Council has boarded up the buildings and said they would be demolished with about six weeks, so it was not worth employing more stringent security methods.

Haverhill Online News

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