A WOMAN has appeared in court accused of recklessly setting on fire an old house on a dales’ caravan park site.

It follows a blaze at the Old Station House, at Dale View Caravan Park, Middleton-in-Teesdale, in the early hours of January 31, last year.

Five fire crews tackled the flames which quickly took hold and worked through the night to extinguish the fire, but not before significant structural damage was caused leaving the building in an unsafe condition.

No-one was injured in the incident.

The Northern Echo:

FIRE DAMAGE: Blaze caused structural damage to the Old Station House, on Station Bank, at Middleton-in-Teesdale caravan park. Picture: Katie Macfarlane

After initial inquiries the County Durham and Darlington fire service confirmed the blaze was being treated as suspicious.

A 41-year-old Bishop Auckland woman, Lindsey Norma Dent, was arrested several weeks later, on suspicion of arson.

She was bailed pending further inquiries, but, a year to the day since her arrest, the now 42-year-old defendant, appeared at Durham Crown Court, charged with arson intending to destroy the building and being reckless as to whether life was endangered.

She pleaded not guilty and, asked by Judge Christopher Prince if she denied setting the fire in the first place, her counsel, Robert Mochrie, replied: “That’s correct, your honour.”

Judge Prince bailed Ms Dent, of Sun Street, Bishop Auckland, to return for an estimated two-day trial, starting on June 24.