School arson probe
Police dog teams searched Stoke School on Saturday night after an arsonist set a native nikau palm alight.
Stoke Fire Station officer Tane Simpson said the arsonist struck around 11.30pm, saying most of the tree was engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived.
The team held off putting it out until a police team of dog handlers turned up so that the dogs could get a scent of the fire.
He said police had set up a cordon and were still working the area by the time the firefighters left.
No school buildings were damaged but with a strong breeze and dry conditions, Mr Simpson thought the fire could have had serious consequences.
"Any sort of fire like that is treated very seriously by both the police and us."
A police spokesperson said the suspect was not found.
- © Fairfax NZ News