SIX horses were rescued as flames swept through a livery yard on Teesside on Wednesday.

Neighbours and a passer-by rescued the horses - one, a mare in foal - from their stalls at Bankfield Farm, Eston, as a straw barn was engulfed by the fire which was deliberately started.

Twenty-two fire fighters were initially called to the farm and livery yard, near Middlesbrough.

Cleveland Police said the blaze is being treated as arson.

Elly Thomson, owner of the Eston Equestrian Centre, next door to the farm, was one of three people who dashed to the farm, to free the horses.

Last night she was full of praise for the fire fighters who managed to stop the fire spreading from the barn full of straw to the adjacent stables.

Mrs Thomson said: "There was no one hurt - no horses injured. We managed to get all the horses out.''

* Full story and picture in Thursday's Northern Echo.