'Reckless' boy caused £1million of arson damage to Oxfordshire barn

The barn was set alight at Acre Hill, Freeland Road, Eynsham, on 24 October 2021 Credit: Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

A boy who caused around £1 million of damage to an Oxfordshire barn has been fined.

The teenager, now aged 16, was also given a four-month youth referral order after pleading guilty to the arson attack at Acre Hill, Freeland Road in Eynsham in October 2021, and ordered to pay £61 in costs.

The barn, owned by a man in his seventies, was destroyed, and cattle also had to be evacuated.

No one was injured in the incident and all the livestock survived.

The boy was charged with the offence on 21 December 2022 and pleaded guilty on 1 February 2023.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to arson at Oxford Youth Court on Wednesday 1st February. Credit: Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Investigating officer PC Cory Fastnedge said: “This incident caused untold damage to the farm building and the victim suffered immeasurable loss as a result of this boy’s reckless actions.

“The case was sent to the CPS at the end of May 2022 following an extensive review by the Youth Offending Team.

“The CPS deemed this suitable for an out of course disposal."

"However, the Youth Offending Team and the officer in charge deemed that this was not suitable due to the nature of the offence, the value of the damage, and the devastating effect that this had on the victim.

“This caused delays in getting the case to court while further interviews and extensive reviews were carried out."

PC Fastnedge continued: “He can count himself very fortunate not to have received a more significant sentence, but we respect the judgement and hope that the boy can learn from his reckless actions and ensure there is no repeat in the future.

“The victim lost not only a vast amount of machinery and farm equipment, but this also badly affected his livelihood, and he is still recovering from what happened.

“Tackling rural crime will remain a top priority of Thames Valley Police and we will not hesitate in bringing charges to court.”