A MAN appeared in court today (Friday, February 22) accused of arson following a house fire yesterday morning.

Alan Thomas Patterson, who turns 38-years-old tomorrow, appeared in Peterlee Magistrates’ Court charged with threatening to burn down the house he occupied in Chaytor Road, Consett, County Durham.

He was also been charged with arson with intent – destroying the property by fire.

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Mr Patterson, who was dressed in a black t-shirt, was not asked to plead to the charges.

He spoke only to confirm his name and address.

His appearance follows a fire at 1.50am yesterday morning.

Ten firefighters from Consett station, five from High Handenhold and two with an aerial ladder platform from Durham were on the scene for around five-and-a-half hours.

According to the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue service, a woman and children who lived at the house had been staying elsewhere at the time.

Mr Patterson was remanded in custody to appear at Durham Crown Court on Wednesday, February 27.