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Justice for firebugs, but club still without its home ground

Fire at the old Tring Athletic football ground in Miswell Lane, Tring

Fire at the old Tring Athletic football ground in Miswell Lane, Tring

A football club whose original home was destroyed in an arson attack last summer has seen justice served on the teenage firebugs responsible.

Two boys aged 15 and 16 and a 16-year-old girl all pleaded guilty to the offence, which saw Tring Athletic’s Miswell Lane base go up in smoke in July, with five Dacorum-based crews required to tackle the blaze.

The trio, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared on separate days at West and Central Herts Magistrates Courts.

They were handed varying sentences which included paying court costs and a victim surcharge, being referred to a youth offending panel, and, for the older male, attending a fire setters’ rehabilitation course.

But although the culprits have been reprimanded, the club’s chairman Mick Eldridge says little else has changed in the aftermath of the attack.

The clubhouse – its original home from 1958 – has since been the subject of a number of break-ins, the most recent occurring at the weekend.

Mr Eldridge said: “The building is as it was in July last year – nothing has happened to it. After the fire, someone broke in and was living there but it has since been broken into again. I expect it will be boarded up again.”

The building itself is owned by Dacorum Borough Council, and according to Mr Eldridge there is no timescale in place for its repair yet, although council contractors have inspected the site.

The club’s A and B teams, who used the site before the fire, are now using the club’s main training pitch in Cow Lane.

The chairman continued: “There is no option at the moment but to use something else.

“The only good thing is that they have caught somebody, and hopefully they will be rehabilitated to deter them from doing something like this again.

“It is a serious thing, so it’s good that it has gone through the courts. We will just have to wait and see what happens now. The clubhouse is a bit of an eyesore at the moment.”

 

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