Schoolboys in court over fire

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Five boys accused of starting a fire which caused more than £10m of damage to Leyland St Mary’s Catholic Technology College have appeared in Preston Crown Court for the first time.

The boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, stood together in the dock, at the court yesterday.

The youngsters, aged 11, 12, 13, 13 and 15, pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing at Preston Youth Court.

It was ruled the case was so serious that the boys must be tried in Crown Court.

The defendants will next appear at Preston Crown Court on June 30.

Their parents sat in court as Judge Anthony Russell QC adjourned the hearing.

n Fire broke out at Leyland St Mary’s Catholic Technology College shortly after 4pm on Sunday, September 1.

More than 100 firefighters tackled the blaze which quickly spread, and destroyed more than 60 per cent of the Royal Avenue school.