A pair of teenagers have admitted starting a fire that caused thousands of pounds to a Chippenham primary school.

The boys, both now 15-years-old and who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been due to stand trial at Swindon Crown Court this week on allegations of arson being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

But on Monday afternoon, the boys pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of simple arson and theft of lighter fluid and Stanley knife blades from Wilko in Chippenham. One of the boys had earlier admitted possession of a Stanley knife.

It is said the pair used lighter fluid to set fire to a hedge outside Ivy Lane Primary School, Chippenham, on April 15, 2019. The fire spread from the hedge to the roof of the school, causing £100,000-worth of damage and resulting in children taking part in a holiday club having to be evacuated from the building by 999 crews and teachers.

In the wake of the incident, Wiltshire Police’s Det Sgt Adam Fleetwood-Brown said: "It is incredibly fortunate that nobody was hurt during this incident as there were children at the school at the time taking part in a holiday club - luckily they were all evacuated quickly and safely.

"The damage caused to the roof of the building is substantial and will be costly and inconvenient to repair.”

On Monday, Judge Jason Taylor QC remitted the case to Salisbury Youth Court and ordered pre-sentence reports for both boys. The sentencing hearing is expected to take place on October 15.

Bailing the young men, he said: “You’ve pleaded guilty today to what are undoubtedly serious offences, but the right place for you to be sentenced given your ages and backgrounds is now the youth court.”

Alec Small appeared for the Crown Prosecution Service. Richard Williams represented the younger boy, Andrew Stone appeared for the older defendant.

Reporting restrictions prevent anyone from revealing the youths' identities.