A MURDER investigation is underway after a body was found in the rubble of a fire in Sunderland.

Officers were alerted by the fire brigade to a blaze at an address on Tunstall Village Green on Tuesday.

Emergency services attended and extinguished the fire, which had started inside a garage of a property and caused significant damage.

Northumbria Police said an investigation was launched into the cause of the fire, and as part of those enquiries, officers have now discovered human remains under substantial and dense rubble.

A number of enquiries have been carried out since the incident, and police are currently treating the death as suspicious.

A 38-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Last night he remained in police custody and was assisting officers with their investigation.

Detective Inspector Graeme Dodds has now asked anybody with any information that may assist the ongoing investigation to come forward.

“This was clearly a very serious incident that has resulted in a tragic death,” Det Insp Dodds said. “Significant work is ongoing at the scene which may take some time to complete.

“At present, we are treating the person’s death as suspicious but this investigation remains at a very early stage and we are remaining open-minded as to the circumstances behind the incident.

“The blaze caused a huge amount of damage inside the garage, and we are now determined to map out a chronology of events and find out the circumstances that led to this fire.

“While a formal identification process has yet to be concluded, we have notified the family of the suspected victim and are offering them support.

“We are currently interviewing one man in connection with the incident and he continues to assist officers with their enquiries.

“A visible policing presence will be seen in the area as officers continue to carry out enquiries and offer any reassurance to residents.

“I would now ask anybody who has any information and who has yet to come forward to come forward and contact police. Your information could prove crucial as we look to find out how this tragic incident came about.”

Anyone with information is asked to call Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 375 230220 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555111.