Fires set near kindergarten

Police talking to 14-year-old

JOANNE BENNETT
Last updated 05:00 17/12/2013
cabbage tree
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ
BURNT: Cabbage trees at Kowhai Kindergarten have been set on fire twice in a week. Teacher Sarah Vincent-Weaver surveys the damage with Sergeant Ian Howard.

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A group of cabbage trees just metres from Kowhai Kindergarten have been the target of a second deliberately lit fire.

Police spoke to a 14-year-old boy yesterday morning in relation to the crime.

The first fire was lit at 8.15am last Tuesday, just as children were beginning to arrive for kindy. The children were kept away until it was safe for them to enter.

The second fire, in the same place, was reported at 6.20am yesterday.

Sergent Ian Howard said police were on the scene quickly, and found the person responsible.

"The night shift staff found the youth and spoke to him, but didn't believe his story. He has been referred to youth aid for lighting these two fires, and another incident, setting fire to pamphlets in a letterbox nearby.

"We were grateful to his parents for being co-operative. It's the first time he has been in trouble, so hopefully this intervention will stop him doing this in future."

Kowhai Kindergarten relieving teacher Vanessa Fleming said they used the experience to teach the children about fire safety.

"We spent a lot of time talking about it. We were pretty upset when it happened the first time, and it was a big surprise for it to happen again. Hopefully that's the end of it now."

Mr Howard recommended the kindergarten arrange for the trees to be cut down as they were a fire hazard.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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