Distraught neighbours have paid tribute to an elderly couple who were found dead in a house fire this morning.

Six fire engines and approximately 35 firefighters were called to tackle the blaze in Fallow Court Avenue, North Finchley, shortly after 6am.

The body of an elderly woman, who was believed to be 80-years-old, was found in the kitchen and the body of a man in a first floor bedroom of the semi-detached house.

Murann Kelly who lives opposite the house, said: “It’s just awful. She was like a mother to me and now she’s gone.

"I was having a cup of tea and a croissant with her yesterday. I was very friendly with her.

“They had a doctor’s appointment at 8am this morning so my kids uncovered their car from the snow. She would have been up at 6am to get ready and showered to go to the doctors.

“She’ll be really missed. She was the nicest person and loved her neighbours."

Ms Kelly said the elderly woman was from Cyprus and had lived in the road for more than 45 years. She is believed to have one grown-up daughter who lives in Newcastle.

Eric Maltby who lives in the residential street said: “We didn’t get up until 8am. We looked out of the curtain and saw the road was full of fire engines, ambulance and police. There were firemen on the roof of the building.

“It’s terrible. A lot of fires seem to happen when the weather is so cold.”

The fire was under control at approximately 8am. The London Fire Brigade and Metropolitan Police are investigating the incident.