A 13-YEAR-OLD boy has voluntarily attended for questioning over the fire at Thatto Heath rugby club, police say.

Thatto Heath Crusaders amateur rugby league club’s training barn was set ablaze on Saturday evening (January 4).

Police have confirmed the blaze is being treated as an arson and appealed for witnesses.

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A spokeswoman said "four males" were seen in the area around the time of the fire, of which two were believed to be on mountain bikes.

Police say a 13 year-old boy has voluntarily attended for questioning about the incident and remains under investigation.

St Helens Star:

Damage caused by the fire

Thatto Heath Crusaders said extensive damage has been caused to the building’s structure and the 4G artificial surface.

The club stressed the barn is insured, however, an online fundraising page was set up by the club to help cover costs its teams will have to face, which include finding alternative premises in the short-term. More than £4,000 has been raised so far.

The lack of the facility is set to cause disruption to various teams’ pre-season training schedules.

St Helens Star:

The aftermath of the fire

After the fire, a police spokeswoman said: "We are appealing for witnesses following a fire at premises in Thatto Health.

"We were contacted on Saturday, January 4 to reports of a fire at a training barn at Thatto Heath Crusaders Club on Close Street. "Damage was caused to an external wooden cladded wall.

"No-one was in the building at the time and there have been no reports of any injuries.

"It is believed that the fire started between 4.35pm and 4.50pm. Four males, two of who are believed to have been on mountain bikes, were seen in the area at the time.

"The fire is being treated as suspected malicious ignition and an investigation is underway.

"CCTV and forensic enquiries are in the process of being carried out and detectives are appealing for anyone who was in the vicinity of Close Street who saw anyone or anything suspicious to contact us either by DM @MerPolCC, calling 101 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 quoting log 651 of January 4".

St Helens Star:

Firefighters at the scene

In a statement on the gofundme page Thatto Heath said: “On Saturday, January 4, 2020 our 4G Training Barn that is used by the whole club, community groups and many other sports teams from all ages, was hit by an arson attack.

“This has devastated the club and all its members who work so hard to provide for so many.

“Extensive damage has been suffered to the core of the structure as well as the 4G playing service (which alone costs £60k) and the roof.

“Whilst we are insured and are working hard to recover from the situation there will be lots of other costs that the club will have to bear.

“Not least we now have to find alternative training facilities for all of our own teams and have lost what was a vital stream of income from external groups who paid to rent the barn.

“The support and offers of help we have received so far from the wider community and Rugby League family has been overwhelming.

“We have set up this page to try and help us cover some of these costs. Any donation you can make however small will be appreciated.

“If anyone would like to offer other services or items please comment below or email info@thattoheathcrusaders.org.

“Thanks to Merseyside Fire and Rescue and the Police for their support."

  • Donate to the fund here .