A SCHOOLBOY who started a stable fire, then walked away to commit a burglary as three pets burned to death, is sitting his GCSEs in a detention centre.
Jake Ashley Pollitt, 16, was sentenced to a two year detention and training order for starting the fire on Godscroft Lane, Helsby, which killed two Shetland ponies and a horse last November.
Pollitt, of Highfields, Elton, will serve one year in a youth detention centre and will be supervised in the community for a further 12 months. He will serve a concurrent 12 month sentence for burglary.
Stable owners Liz and David Gray, of Frodsham, arrived on the scene too late to save their beloved ponies Ellen and Marina and prizewinning Irish thoroughbred horse Ben.
Chester Crown Court heard on Monday that Pollitt was playing with matches to impress older friends when a hay bale caught light.
The then Helsby High School pupil tried to stamp out the fire, but as he and three other boys walked along Chester Road they heard sirens and realised smoke was still coming from the stable.
Rather than rescue the animals, the teenagers fled. Hours later, Pollitt burgled a house on Chester Road, Helsby, taking the keys to a Vauxhall Corsa which he crashed into a wall.
Defending, Anthony Rose told the court that at the time of the fire his client, who had no previous convictions, had been affected by his parents' divorce and was sleeping rough in a car after arguing with his father.
After seeing photographs of the fire's aftermath, Judge Elgan Edwards described Pollitt's behaviour as 'disgraceful'.
'You behaved in a way that led to the most appalling consequences in relation to that stable and those horses,' Judge Edwards said.
'You had seen at least one horse in that stable which was ablaze but you did nothing to try to remedy your actions. Quite the contrary - you proceeded to commit other offences of burglary and the aggravated taking of a car.'
Pollitt faces a three year driving ban, and must take an extended test before he can get a licence, which will automatically be endorsed with nine penalty points. email@example.com