Billingham football club heartbroken after second suspected arson attack in under a year

A junior football club has been devastated by a second fire in under a year.

Billingham Juniors Football club suffered a suspected arson attack on the evening of Saturday 23 April.

Three fire engines were in attendance, but they were unable to stop the blaze before it destroyed the club house.

It follows a similar incident in June 2021, which partially damaged the club house. It was under repair at the time of the fire last weekend.

Last year's fire damaged the building. Credit: BILLINGHAM JUNIORS FC

"[It's] frustrating, sad, a really emotional time to be honest," club coach Chris Weegram told ITV News Tyne Tees.

"The way it's effected not only the management team but all the children, it's been really, really frustrating.

"Anything that was salvageable from the last fire, it's not now so we're back to the drawing board.

"Anxiety... it is through the roof it really is," he continued. "When I received the text message at one o'clock in the morning I knew exactly why he wanted me, I knew it was because the fire brigade had been again, so there's a real sense of anxiety amongst the management team."

Cleveland Fire Brigade describe the 70-year-old building as "100% destroyed".

Equipment including footballs, bibs and cones have been damaged beyond repair.

Now, 160 children are no longer able to use the site at all due to safety concerns about the premises, so have relocated to play at the Village Ground until more permanent arrangements are made.

The community in Billingham had raised £11,000 after the first fire to repair the damage, which luckily had not been spent when the alleged attack took place earlier this month.

Cleveland Fire Brigade have seen no signs of forced entry, but due to safety concerns they have been unable to fully inspect the building and ascertain the cause.