Hartlepool Pokemon Go fanatic ‘catches them all’ after 84-mile trek

Craig Sowerby believes he's the first person from Hartlepool to catch all of the characters available on the Pokemon Go game.
Craig Sowerby believes he's the first person from Hartlepool to catch all of the characters available on the Pokemon Go game.
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A Pokemon Go fan from Hartlepool believes he is the first person in the town to ‘catch them all’ after walking almost 84 miles to collect the characters.

Craig Sowerby, 28, of the Central Estate, caught all the 142 characters available in the UK in just two-and-a-half weeks.

People have inundated the Headland in Hartlepool playing Pokemon Go. Picture by Andrew R Dorrian.

People have inundated the Headland in Hartlepool playing Pokemon Go. Picture by Andrew R Dorrian.

The reality game, which is played on mobile phones, sees players search for Pokemon, who appear on the screen as if they were in the same real-world location as the player.

The craze has caught the imagination in the UK, and Craig – who works full-time for EE at Doxford Park, Sunderland – believes he is one of the first in the UK to catch the full set.

He said: “As far as I’m aware, I was the first person in Hartlepool to do it, and probably within the top five in the UK as well.

“I caught them all over Hartlepool, but I mainly focused on the Headland. That’s where I caught most of them.

It was like reliving my youth, as I used to play Pokemon back in the day

Craig Sowerby

“A few of my friends did it with me as well, including James Mitchell, Ross Snowdon and Gary Llewellyn, and we went around catching them.

“They are my (Pokemon characters) Brock, Misty and Professor Oak.

“My girlfriend, Samantha Anderson, took part in some of it as well.”

Craig has praised the game for the benefits it can bring with exercise.

He walked almost 84 miles in just two-and-a-half weeks to complete the set.

The gamer added: “It’s a massively addictive game. I’m 28, so some people might think I’m quite old to be doing it, but it was like reliving my youth, as I used to play Pokemon back in the day.

“The exercise was a really big thing for me.

“With most games, you’re sitting at a computer screen, but this one gets you active, and there’s a lot of walking involved.

“It has got people out of the house and exercising, and families have bonded over the game. It’s something you don’t really see these days.

“It’s good for the community, too, because it has brought a lot of people to the Headland and for the small businesses there, it must have been good.

“The only negative about it for me, really, has been the amount of litter some people have been leaving.

“We took black bags with us and picked the rubbish up, though, to ensure the areas were not left in a bad state.”

Craig spent £29.99 while playing the game on buying virtual ‘eggs’, which were then incubated until they hatched.

He found his final Pokemon at the St Hilda’s Church, on the Headland, just six hours before friend James also completed the set.