A popular charity shop which was destroyed by arsonists will not be up and running again for 'several' months.

Fire tore through Age UK on Chester Road in Little Sutton on the evening of January 3, wiping out its entire stock in a matter of minutes.

Now one of the charity's bosses has revealed the store will remain closed for the foreseeable future while work is undertaken to repair the 'extensive damage' caused.

Steve Wooldridge, Head of Retail Operations at Age UK, told The Chronicle: “We are currently in the process of organising the re-fit of the shop which can unfortunately take up to several months.

"In the meantime, our dedicated staff and some of our volunteers have been relocated temporarily to our Age UK Chester shop.

“The shop is reliant on the kind donations from the residents of the local area to keep the shelves stocked so we will appreciate any donations when the shop re-opens.”

Residents and loyal customers of the shop immediately rallied to help, and raised more than £1,000 via a crowdfunding appeal set up by local business-owner Gary Wright.

Thanking them, Mr Wooldridge said: “We are enormously grateful to the local community in Little Sutton for the donations via their online appeal which will be a great help to us in the lead up to re-opening."

Police said at the time that an initial examination of the building suggested a side window on the ground floor had been opened and accelerants thrown inside.

Two arrests were made, but a 40-year-old man was released without charge while a 53-year-old man was bailed pending further enquiries.

A Cheshire Constabulary spokeswoman has confirmed that investigations are ongoing.