DETECTIVES are investigating after a village chip shop went up in flames twice in less than 24 hours.

Police suspect the first blaze, at the Codfathers takeaway, in Front Street, Sacriston, near Chester-le-Street, on Sunday afternoon was started deliberately.

The second fire, yesterday morning, probably started when hot embers from the previous day's blaze caught fire again.

Sunday's blaze, described as "very suspicious" by fire fighters, is thought to have started after someone broke in. Police say someone climbed over the back wall of the premises and forced their way into the kitchen before starting a fire using petrol or paraffin.

Four fire officers wearing breathing apparatus tackled the ground floor blaze, which caused extensive damage.

Divisional fire officer Ian Docherty said the fire took hold again the following morning.

He said: "We think it was caused by a hot spot which was smouldering."

A 36-year-old man, from Grange Villa, near Chester-le-Street, was arrested and questioned yesterday before being released pending further police inquiries.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 0191-386 4929.