Boys, 12, among those arrested after Kettering church hit by 3am arson attack

The repair bill for the church will run into thousands of pounds

By Alison Bagley
Thursday, 11th November 2021, 3:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 11th November 2021, 4:44 pm

Four children have been arrested after an arson attack outside a Kettering town centre church that has left the congregation with a clean up bill for thousands of pounds.

Bin bags containing rubbish for collection, that had been left outside Toller Church in Gold Street, were set alight in the early hours of Tuesday, November 9.

The fire, which was reported at 3am, caused a large window to shatter and damaged the window frame and stone steps in front of the church.

One of the main windows of the Toller Church was shattered by the heat of the fire

Four boys aged 12, 12, 14 and 16 have since been arrested in connection with the incident.

Minister the Reverend Helen Wakefield-Carr said: "I got a phone call from the police at around 3am. It was a small fire but it has caused a great deal of damage. It's going to cost us thousands of pounds. What really saddened us was the poppy display was in the window. One of our members spent a lot of time on the display.

"We're horrified at their ages. Waterstones had bags of rubbish set fire to outside their window too a few weeks ago.

"We don't think it was a personal attack. As a result I'm going to write to the council. The rubbish is commercially collected from different refuse collectors. Every night there is rubbish left outside shops - they can't collect during the day because it's a pedestrianised zone but there needs to be a solution."

The damage to Waterstones that has not been linked to the Toller Church incident took place at the beginning of November

A spokesman for Northants Police said: "Four boys aged 12, 12, 14 and 16 have been arrested in connection with the Gold Street incident and released on bail pending further enquiries."

Last week Northants Fire and Rescue reported a spike in youth-related fires being deliberately set with Kettering seeing more than 30 incidents in three months - with four recorded in a single night.

The police spokesman added: "The incidents are not being officially linked at the moment but we are keeping an open mind."

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service said: "Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service was called to reports of a fire in the open on Gold Street, Kettering at 3.03am on Tuesday, November 9.

The stone steps were also coated in molten plastic

"Northamptonshire Police was already in attendance at the scene, where a quantity of cardboard boxes was on fire.

"Although the fire had caused some slight damage to a double glazed window, the Kettering fire crew were able to contain the spread of the fire and extinguished the flames using a hose reel jet.

"The blaze is believed to have been started deliberately."