A FIRE which has destroyed six shops and restaurants in Eaglescliffe, Stockton, has now been extinguished.

At its height, 40 fire fighters were at the blaze on Durham Lane.

It had been feared that the fire was spreading towards Sainsbury's supermarket, and the flats above would have to be evacuated.

But Cleveland Police has confirmed the blaze is now out, and fire crews remain on the scene damping down.

The emergency services were called to the shops at 1.47am today.

Food takeaway shops including a pizza shop, fish shop and an Indian restaurant, along with a hairdressers and bookmaker's shop have been completely destroyed.

The cause of the fire is not yet clear, but it is thought to have started in the pizza shop.

Police said they do not believe anyone was in any of the premises at the time.

Durham Lane is expected to remain closed for a further couple of hours as a precautionary measure.

A spokeswoman for Cleveland Police said: "Police will be working with the fire brigade to establish the cause of the fire."