A teenage arsonist who started a fire which destroyed a Sheffield nursery faces a jail term after admitting his crimes.
Elliot Hague, aged 19, of Beighton, pleaded guilty to starting a blaze that destroyed Bizzy Bees Family Childcare Centre on School Lane on the night of November 1, 2015.
Several fire crews attended the site as emergency services cordoned off School Lane and the surrounding area.
Nobody was injured in the fire – but the Beighton nursery, which was attended by 190 children, had to close and 26 staff were made redundant as a result.
Staff feared the huge cost of repairs would mean they would have to close the site permanently.
But, after generous donations from the Beighton community and beyond, the nursery eventually re-opened in August.
Around 100 children have now returned to the site.
Hague admitted the charge of arson on the first day of his scheduled trial, which was expected to last for two days.
After the charge was read out, Hague paused briefly and looked towards his barrister before confirming his guilty plea at Sheffield Crown Court.
Nursery room manager at Bizzy Bees, Amanda Webster, said staff were relieved.
She said: “We expected to sit through the trial, he indicated he wouldn’t plead guilty so when he did it was a massive shock.
“But it has also come as a big relief to all of us.”
Amanda added: “We’re not overly bothered by what sentence he gets, we just wanted him to admit what he has done.”
She said it had been a difficult time for staff.
“It’s been such a hard year but we trying to get back to where we were. We now have 100 children back with us we’re trying to carry on as we did before. People have been great to helping us return to a position before the fire.”
The judge, Recorder Rachim Singh, granted Hague bail and orderedthe preparation of a pre-sentence report before his next hearing in November.