A TEENAGER escaped a custodial sentence for burning down a barn in Ryde, causing £150,000 worth of damage.

Thomas Raftery, 19, of Poole Lane, Kinson, Bournemouth, was given a nine-month custodial sentence at a young offenders' institute, but it was suspended for 18 months.

He must undertake 200 hours of unpaid work, and complete ten rehabilitation days, plus thinking skills sessions.

He must pay a victim surcharge of £149 and £200 court costs.

He appeared by video link at the IW Crown Court today (Thursday).

He had previously pleaded guilty to arson at a barn at Gatehouse Road Farm, Upton, which was packed with hay bales, last August.

A 16-year-old co-defendant was cleared of any wrongdoing.

The court previously heard how the farm lost three barns in the fire that raged for 16 hours.

Prosecutor, Tim Compton, said at the previous hearing: "Evidence showed Mr Raftery actually set two fires. One the 16-year-old defendant managed to extinguish."