Boy who torched Rainham sandwich shop given 10 month referral order

A 14-year-old who torched a Rainham sandwich shop will be referred to a youth offending panel for 10 months.

The Hornchurch boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, committed arson at In The Mood For Food in Elmer Gardens on April 1 last year.

He caused more than �65,000 damage to the property, which the owner says is only now just getting back on its feet.

The teen pleaded guilty to the offence at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on April 24, when he was sentenced.

Speaking to the Recorder this week, owner Pauline Hazel said that the caf� had been closed for ten weeks after the incident, which damaged the trade.

Pauline and her partner also had to use money of their own to cover the costs of re-opening that their insurance didn’t meet.

She added: “It was devastating, absolutely devastating.

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“When you’ve been here for five years and built the business up and you see it just go in minutes like that, it was a very traumatic time for us.

“Then we reopened and some people had moved on, we’ve got a lot of loyal customers, but some didn’t realise we were back open and they went elsewhere.

“We lost trade during that time, which was a big problem.

“I just hope that the kid will learn from whatever programme he goes on and it will do the trick.”

The shop is currently open.

As well as attending the youth offending panel, the arsonist’s parent or guardian will have to pay �500 compensation to the business owner.

He had originally pleaded not guilty to the offence, but changed his plea at the April 24 hearing.