FLAMES tore through a Hampshire flat last night, gutting the home and sending thick black smoke billowing 100 feet above the building.

Ambulances, police and 50 members of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service raced to Livingstone Court, off Grange Road in Gosport just after 7.30pm.

Fire crews from Hightown, Fareham, Gosport, Cosham and Havant battled the flames for two and half hours and searched the derelict building as dozens of people watched from below.

The split level flat was completely gutted but no one was injured during the incident.

Neighbours reported seeing children playing on the balcony of the flat before the fire started and youngsters ran away from the building as the fire crews arrived.

A 16-year-old boy from Gosport was arrested on suspicion of arson and bailed until June 27.