A PUB'S new landlady is claiming to be the youngest licensee in the borough of Darlington.

Emma Johnson, 21, recently took over the running of the Carlbury Arms, in Piercebridge, after her parents Mike and Pauline bought the pub.

"As far as I know, I'm the youngest in this area," said the former Richmond School pupil.

"I know there was a 22-year-old at Hurworth, but obviously I've beaten that.

"I've worked here for three years since leaving school, but this is the first time I've been officially in charge."

Former landlord Richard Hewitson sold the free house, which was originally known as the Wheatsheaf, to move to Australia.

Darlington magistrates' licensing department could not confirm whether Emma was the youngest licensee. "Unfortunately we don't have that kind of information to hand," said a spokeswoman.

If you know of a younger licensee in the area call reporter Sam Strangeways on (01325) 505022.