A “Flicked’ Match Caused £700 Worth Of Damage At Clifton

June 1958

South Yorkshire Times June 7, 1958

A “Flicked’ Match
Caused £700 Worth Of Damage At Clifton

A lighted match thrown into the air by a 16-years-old youth caused damage estimated at £700 to a stone barn and its contents at Manor Farm, Clifton, Magistrates at Doncaster West Riding Juvenile Court were told on Wednesday. The match ignited a bale of straw protruding from an opening in the barn ten feet above ground level,

The Magistrates decided that the youth had not deliberately set fire to the straw and they dismissed a summons alleging that he caused malicious damage to the barn and its contents of hay and straw.

Mrs G. N. Paling, the Chairman, warned the youth and other boys who were with the youth at the time of the incident and had given evidence, “Never play with matches anywhere.”

Defending solicitor, Mr. G. R. Hill contended that the boy’s action was not deliberately done to start a fire. “It may have been a foolish act,” he said, “but it was not a malicious one.”

Chief Inspector J. W. Nicholls said the fire completely destroyed twenty tons of baled barley straw, two ton of hay and two-thirds of the barn roof—the damage to the building being estimated at £500. He said the defendant did his best to put the fire out while another youth ‘phoned the Fire Brigade, but by the time the brigade arrived the hay and straw had been destroyed.

A 15-years-old boy said he saw the defendant ‘flick” the match into the air. Another witness, a 16-vears-old boy, said the defendant did not aim the match at the straw.