TWO cars went up in flames, which then spread to an oil heater in suspected arson attack.

Emergency services were called out to the fire in Weardale on Friday. Police were called to reports of two cars on fire at White House Farm, off the A689 near Eastgate in Weardale shortly after 9.30pm on Friday, January 3.

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service attended the fire with fire engines from Stanhope, Crook, Consett and Middleton in Teesdale. The crews managed to tackle the blaze which spread to an oil fuelled heating tank and on to the house.

The blaze was extinguished three hours later, and the last fire engine left the scene at 12.18am. The police remained at the scene for further investigation. Nobody was injured.

The fire is believed to have been started deliberately. Police are investigating and anyone with information should contact Durham Constabulary on 101 quoting reference number 440 of January 3.

Durham County Councillor for Weardale, John Shuttleworth said: “I think we need a new approach to rural policing. Weardale residents contribute almost £0.5m in police council tax, plus central government grant. Somewhere along the line we are getting short changed and this has to change. I will be calling for a meeting with the acting Police and Crime Commissioner.”