Plumes of smoke seen as emergency crews scrambled to blaze at former Hawthorn Leslie shipyard in Hebburn
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Three crews from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) are working at the scene to bring the fire under control.
Photos from the scene show plumes of black smoke rising from the former shipyard, which has stood empty since 1982 – with the site becoming a magnet for deliberate fires and antisocial behaviour.
Residents and businesses in the nearby area are being encouraged to keep their doors and windows closed.
A Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) spokesperson said: “At about 3.41pm today we received a report of a suspected fire at the rear of the shipyard in Hebburn.
"Three crews attended the scene and are in the process of tackling the fire. There is a lot of smoke in the area so residents and businesses in the area are encouraged to keep their doors and windows closed.
"Northumbria Police are also in attendance and a cordon is in place.”
A Northumbria Police spokesperson added: "Shortly before 4.10pm today we received a report of a fire at the former Hawthorn Leslie shipyard in Hebburn.
"Officers attended the area to support crews from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, who were already in attendance.
"The fire has since been brought under control and officers are no longer in attendance."