YOUNG arsonists are being blamed for setting fire to a building at a troubled rugby club which caused £20,000 of damage.

Fifteen firefighters battled to control the blaze which started in one of the changing rooms in a Gravesend Rugby Club building early on April 8.

Three boys, who had been drinking and were shouting abuse, were seen in the area shortly after the fire.

The blaze, which started just after midnight, is the third attack on the club in the last two months and the club steward's wife Patricia Bradford, says she is “terrified about what could happen next”.

Since the fire, new lights on the veranda of the new £30,000 rugby pavilion have also been damaged.

Mrs Bradford said she was alerted to the fire by two boys who were helping her and her husband clear away glasses after an evening do.

She said: “We were clearing up when our two young helpers said they saw smoke coming out of the changing room.

“We then called the fire brigade and it came out straight away. Luckily, noboby was hurt.”

“In the meantime our young helpers saw three young lads, who had been drinking, walking down Milton Road and Church Walk shouting look what we've done'.”

Mrs Bradford explained the changing rooms are completely damaged, but the rest of the building has only had a small amount of smoke damage.

Although the damage will be paid for with insurance money, she claims their insurance premium is getting higher and higher after a series of attacks.

She explained that on March 23 the club was broken into and a pay phone and three charity boxes were stolen.

And at the end of February, their beer storage shed was broken into and more than 200 bottles were stolen.

She said: “I am sure those three young lads were involved in the fire and were asked to do it by somebody else. Someone has got it in for us and the club because there have been too many of these attacks.”

“Next time, who knows, we could be firebombed and someone will get hurt.”

Police would not confirm they were looking for young arsonists but are now appealing to anyone who may have seen something suspicious to call police on 01322 283111 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.