Fire brigade warns it will prosecute arsonists

Children's dance class at the rebuilt Golden Boy Green Community Centre. Photo: ITV Tyne Tees
The community centre after it was burnt down. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Five years ago the Golden Boy Green community centre community in Middlesbrough's South Bank area was destroyed by arsonists.

But, refusing to let the vandals win, residents have eventually transformed it into a social hub for the younger generation.

Arson remains a significant problem on Teesside, with seven out of 10 fires there started deliberately. Today (July 11) the brigade chose the building to launch its latest arson awareness campaign,

Arsonists broke into the community centre and ransacked the building before setting it alight. Resident Phil Venis remembers it well.

The heat was so strong that the steel shutters melted, eight rooms were severely damaged.

With the flames went the only youth club in the area and a place for job seekers to get help.

Unfortunately for firefighters here, this was not isolated.

The Cleveland service deals with more arson attacks than almost all other fire service in the country.

Firefighters were there that night, and were back again today with a warning. Here is Stephen McCarten from the Cleveland Fire Brigade.

It took more than three years, one million pounds, and the dedication of this community to get it open.

The centre is named after one of Middlesbrough's footballing legends.

Wilf Mannion grew up playing on the pitches where the centre now stands.

And today the focus is on the future - a scheme launched to improve the lives of children here.

The hope is that a pride in their community means that in future they will protect the places they value the most.