Birmingham Teenagers Jailed Over Bus Arson

Two teenagers have been jailed for two years each after an arson attack which destroyed a double decker bus in Birmingham.

The boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to causing arson with intent to danger life after they were caught on CCTV setting fire to the back seats by ripping up newspaper, spraying it with deodorant and then setting it alight.

West Midlands Police say the boys got on the Maypole to Birmingham bus at around 1.30pm on June 12, and the driver challenged one of them because he did not have a valid ticket.

When the pair got off on the Stratford Road, Sparkhill, the driver saw the top deck of the bus was alight. He managed to evacuate all the passengers but the bus was a write-off and £150,000 in damage had been caused.

The pair were arrested and had their mobiles phone seized as evidence.

A SIM card was missing from one of the boy's phone and Michael Kelly, aged 49, admitted to officers he had hidden it and was subsequently charged with perverting the course of justice.

Kelly, of Charles Road, Small Heath, was sentenced to six months in prison.

Detective Constable Emma Owens led the investigation and said: "We believe the motive behind the fire was that the youngsters were unhappy about being challenged over their fare.

"The boys' reaction was way over the top and not only did their actions cause a huge amount of damage to the bus, but they also put peoples' lives at risk.

"While we are satisfied with the sentences handed to the boys, which reflect the seriousness of the offence, it is sad to think they will now spend the remainder of their childhood in youth detention centre over one reckless and dangerous act.

"With this in mind, we hope this footage shows just how quickly fire can take hold and deters other youngsters from playing with fire."

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