FIREFIGHTERS put out a pile of burning cable believed to have been stripped by cable thieves.
Bosses at Stranton Fire Station say the thieves put their lives at risk as the fire was very close to railway tracks, near Newburn Bridge on the way to Seaton Carew.
A crew from the station was called to the scene around midnight.
A station spokesman said the pile of cables, of various lengths, were alight at the bottom of the footbridge that goes over the railway line near Newburn Bridge.
He said the cables had been taken from elsewhere, put in a pile and set on fire.
He added: “What happens is the thieves burn off the plastic for the cable.
“It was close to the railway line. “On a point of safety, they scaled the fence which stops the public getting near the railway line and set fire to this cable near the railway line, it’s ridiculous.”
The crew spent 15 minutes at the scene.
Firefighters from Stranton were also called to the rear of a chip shop in Elizabeth Way, also at Seaton, around 5.30am on Saturday.
The spokesman said waste products from frying had not cooled down enough before being disposed of and caught fire in the metal bin.