police tape©Rex Features

A County Durham farmer is offering a £2,000 reward to help catch arsonists who destroyed two barns on his family farm.

More than £40,000-worth of damage was caused at Grange Farm in Wingate near Peterlee, after a fire was started on the property in the early hours of Thursday 20 October.

The blaze destroyed a wood barn and a second steel barn was severely damaged. The barn’s contents, including 700 hay bales and straw were also damaged.

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William Chrystal, who owns the farm, said the fire has had a huge impact on the family’s business.

“Not only did we lose both barns but also the hay that was being stored in them,” he said

“The total value of the items destroyed was in excess of £40,000.

“I’m offering this reward because I’d like to encourage anyone who has information that might help police investigating the arson to come forward.”

PC Gary Barnes, from Peterlee police, said all lines of inquiry had been exhausted.

“We are hoping that the reward that Mr Chrystal is offering might help us find some new information to move the investigation forward,” he said.

“I would urge anyone who might be able to help us trace those responsible for the arson to contact police.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Barnes by calling 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.