A FATHER-of-two who threatened to set himself and his two small daughters on fire, was still being quizzed by detectives last night.

Officers managed to overpower the man, who, after dousing himself and his children in petrol, produced a cigarette lighter.

His daughters, aged six and ten, were badly shaken but unhurt by the ordeal.

The family were found by police in a white Transit van parked in Middlesbrough's Bowfell Road early yesterday.

The 32-year-old father had soaked himself with petrol and had a fuel can on his lap.

As Cleveland Police officers talked to him and tried to calm him down, the man held up a cigarette lighter.

The distraught man's brother pulled him out of the parcels delivery van and he was restrained by police officers, several of them armed.

The man was arrested ending what police described as a "horrifying stand-off".

Middlesbrough Police commander, Chief Superintendent Mark Braithwaite said: "It was a terrifying incident for everyone concerned. Had an ignition taken place, it's my view a fireball would have engulfed that vehicle with serious and even tragic consequences."

Police inquiries continued yesterday to establish what triggered the incident.

Last night, the children were being cared for by relatives as their father remained in custody. Both the unnamed man's brother and mother live in Bowfell Road where the incident happened.