Children miss two days of school as a result of vandal attack in Peterborough

Fire at Honeyhill School, Paston -  burnt out mini-bus and vandalised second minibus EMN-161031-230608009
Fire at Honeyhill School, Paston - burnt out mini-bus and vandalised second minibus EMN-161031-230608009
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Children will miss two days of class after arsonists torched a minibus and smashed windows at their Peterborough school.

Vandals struck at the HoneyHill School and Pupil Referral Centre in Chadburn, Paston, Peterborough on Monday evening.

One minibus was completely destroyed by fire, while another is thought to have been written off as a result of heat damage from the blaze in the first vehicle.

A number of windows were also smashed, leaving classrooms unsafe for pupils to return after the half term break.

They had been due to return tomorrow (Wednesday) after the holiday and two days of teacher training. However, it is now hoped they will be able to return to lessons on Friday.

Claire George, Executive Principle of the Pupil Referral Service, made an appeal for anyone with information about the arson attack to come forward.

She said: “We’re naturally upset about the fire and the damage that was caused to the vehicles and nearby buildings on Monday night.

“We will be supporting the investigation in any way that we can.

“The school was due to reopen after half-term on Wednesday however it is going to take time to clear the site to ensure it is safe for pupils and therefore we will now reopen on Friday.

“If anyone has any information about what happened on Monday night please call police on 101.”

The fire was started at about 7.20pm, when it was reported a group of youths were breaking windows and setting fires.

When fire crews from Ramsey and the Volunteer Fire Brigade arrived they found the minibus on fire and were able to prevent the flames spreading to the school buildings themselves - although there was some superficial heat damage to part of the school.

They were able to return to their stations by 9pm.

A spokesman for Peterborough City Council, who run the centre, said the minibuses, which were used to transport pupils to activities off site, would be replaced by hired vehicles until new ones could be sourced.

In total six windows were smashed in the attack.

Inspections are ongoing to ensure classrooms are safe before youngsters are allowed back into the school.

The council spokesman said it was too early to say how much it would cost to fix the damage caused, and replace the two minibuses.

Cambridgeshire Police have launched an arson and criminal damage investigation and anyone with information is asked to call officers on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.