A BOY who tried to set fire to the school where he was a student has received a nine-month suspended sentence.

Jack Dwyer, now 19, formerly of Atherton, started a fire in a games room of The Clifton Centre, a referral unit which helps those who have been excluded from education.

Then 16, he went to school in March 2018 and made a threat to teachers that he would set fire to the school so he “wouldn’t have to come again”.

Teachers didn’t take this threat seriously but after leaving a games room which housed a gas meter box, a fire was discovered which quickly spread.

The school was evacuated and no-one was injured in the blaze.

Nicola Carroll, prosecuting, said: “On his arrival (to the school) he said I will burn this place down so I don’t have to come here again.”

She said he had loosened a screw on the gas meter to allow some gas to escape and was arrested soon after the fire.

An assistant head teacher later said: “The fire had a huge impact on the school. We are a school for students who struggle with many things.

“A lot of the children have anxiety and the school had to be closed for five months.

“The building could not be used for them and we had to do one-to-one provision out of school, which could not be done full time.”

Defending Dwyer, Mark Friend, said: “He was only 16 at the time. He is a young man who has had to ensure a lot of hardship in life and not committed a significant offence for three years."

He told the court his client had been in care "for a long time" but now had "hope for the future".

Judge Simon Kealey QC, said: “You caused extensive damage to the facility and put the lives of others at risk. Nobody was injured but there was a very significant amount of damage costing over £16,000.

“This caused a lot of disruption to students who need one to one assistance which could not be done."

Dwyer was also ordered to complete 150 hours of unpaid work by the judge.