THE PARENTS of a factory worker accused of causing £6m damage in the Crumlin crisp factory blaze were working at the plant that night, a court heard.

Colin William Goulding, 30, of Bridge Street, Abertillery, cried in the dock as the charge of arson with intent to endanger life was read out to him at Caerphilly Magistrates Court on Saturday.

Dressed in a navy stripped polo shirt he sat sobbing with his head in his hands throughout most of the hearing.

Prosecutor Jean Munton, told the court Goulding, was working at the Real Crisps plant alongside his parents at the time the incident took place on September 20.

Goulding was denied bail and was remanded in custody until his next hearing at Newport Crown Court on Thursday.

Around 60 firefighters tackled the blaze on the Pen-Y-Fan Industrial Estate for more than 12 hours.

Twenty shift workers were evacuated when the fire was discovered around 3.20am.

Smoke and flames destroyed around 75 per of the building, which is the only plant that produces the Real Crisps brand, though they will now be made elsewhere.

Paul Allen, CEO of Tayto Group, which owns Real Crisps, said the blaze not only impacted on the brand and its employees, but had implications for customers, suppliers and growers. Staff will be paid as normal until the end of October, by which time insurance assessors and structural engineers can give guidance on the best way forward.

Mr Allen said the firm knew staff feared for their jobs and the future of the factory but said he could not give any firm answers until they knew exactly what they are dealing with.