Police have appealed for help after a gun was found on a Hartlepool beach.
A weapon, which appeared to be a sawn-off shotgun, was found near Steetley Pier just after 11am on Saturday.
Scenes of crime officers attended and the object was taken away.
Cleveland Police confirmed officers had been called to the area in response to reports of a gun being found.
Investigations were under way to determine whether the weapon was real or fake.
A spokesman said today: "The firearm was recovered and is in secure storage while inquiries continue.
"Anyone with information is asked to contact Cleveland Police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously via 0800 555 111 or by their website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org"
Photographer Stephen Curry was at the beach and saw the officers take the weapon away: “Police attended and guarded the gun until scenes of crime officers arrived to remove it," he said.
"The policeman said that it looked like it could have been washed ashore, but was unable to confirm anything."
A spokesman for Cleveland Police said: "There was a weapon recovered by police on the beach in Hartlepool on Saturday.
"Inquiries are ongoing to try to establish where it has originated from, and whether any offences have been committed."