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Kids set school turf alight

By Hayley Gastmeier

[email protected]

A group of Martinborough kids took it upon themselves to create school holiday entertainment by setting fire to astroturf at the local primary school.

Yesterday at Martinborough School, about eight children were found to be burning “small articles” on the artificial sports turf, which was subsequently set alight.

Police and fire crews were called to the Dublin St grounds just after 2.30pm.

The report was made by a school staff member who spotted the children from an office.

Martinborough senior firefighter Dean Di Bona said police, who were on the scene first, put out the blaze.

“The children were just burning small articles and the police obviously turned up and discussed it with them.”

Being the pump operator and away from the action, Mr Di Bona did not see what the burnt objects were.

He was under the impression the children were “just experimenting” and did not have malicious intentions.

“I think they just didn’t realise that what they had done was dangerous or damaging.”

Some of the astroturf was melted and would need to be replaced, he said.

“They have done significant damage in terms of money and having to get things replaced by very meaningless little acts of curiosity.”

Mr Di Bona said the police dealt with the children in a “very professional and non-confrontational manner”.

“I think a good outcome will occur from that.”

Mr Di Bona lives over the road from the school.

He said during the school holidays he commonly witnessed children “running all over the roof”.

“By the time you call the police or get over there to tell them [it’s not safe] they are gone.

“I don’t know how they get up there. It’s kids being kids, being unintelligent really – not knowing that if you fall you’re going to be hurt.”

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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