A PUB landlord is making a mercy dash to Sri Lanka to buy much needed supplies for communities devastated by the Asian tsunami with money raised by people in south-west Durham.

Derek Campbell and his wife, Amanda, are frequent visitors to the island and have been in constant contact with friends there since the tsunami struck on Boxing Day.

The heartbreaking stories of villages that were completely destroyed inspired the couple, who run The Aclet pub, in Bishop Auckland, to join forces with The Oak Tree pub, in Newton Aycliffe, and the Villa Spice Restaurant, in Ramshaw, to raise money to help the communities.

Their efforts have raised about £4,000 and Mr Campbell has flown to Sri Lanka to spend the cash in the communities where it is most needed.

Mr Campbell will stay with a family in Sri Lanka for eight days and will tour the area to find out what is needed.

He said: "I will be going to the schools and some of the communities to find out what they need, then I will go out and buy them.

"I will also go looking for friends who I have not been able to contact since the tsunami hit.''

Mr and Mrs Campbell said they had been overwhelmed by the support shown by regulars at the pub and local businesses.

Mrs Campbell said: "The support we have had from customers and the local business community has been tremendous. Anything we have asked for, we have got."