A FIRE that blazed for four hours and filled the sky with plumes of black smoke has prompted local residents to speak out about an issue they say is ongoing.

Calls were made to County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service at around 6pm on Tuesday, May 14, after tyres were seen burning.

Two appliances attended the scene at Mainsforth, near Ferryhill Station, where firefighters brought the fire under control by 10.30pm.

A local resident said: "I was in the garden and suddenly noticed the sky above me had turned black, it was a sunny day so it was clear blue just before.

"It was burning for hours and the smoke just didn't stop, thick black smoke kept billowing out.

"This isn't the first time we've had fires around here, it's becoming a problem."

Another resident added: "I walk my dog down there and the rubbish that's left behind is really bad.

"There are often fires down there and you can see where things have been set on fire previously.

"My worry is that the woods are going to go up next."

Police have confirmed that extra patrols have been carried out in the area after complaints of youths congregating.

PCSO Laura Fairhurst said: "We are aware of youths congregating in the area and we are working to tackle the issue.

"We have visited local schools to discuss the dangers and consequences of setting fires and we will continue to carry out extra patrols."