A MAN has appeared at Durham Crown Court accused of starting a fire which damaged his own home.

Alan Thomas Patterson, 38, is alleged to have threatened to damage the house in Bridgehill, Consett, before setting it alight in the early hours of February 21.

No-one was hurt in the blaze, which was tackled by ten firefighters, from three stations, but a first-floor bedroom and roof void were badly damaged.

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Mr Patterson, one of two men who managed to escape the end-terraced property, in Chaytor Road, unhurt, was arrested nearby.

A woman and child living at the house were said to have been staying elsewhere at the time of the fire.

The 38-year-old is charged with threatening to cause criminal damage and arson with intent to destroy the property by fire.

No plea was taken and a provisional date was agreed for a trial of between two and three days, to start on Monday June 3.

No bail application was made and he was remanded back into custody by Judge Christopher Prince to return for a plea hearing, at the court, on Friday May 10.