Armed response to gun alert

POLICE launched an armed search after a motorist reported seeing a man with a handgun in a village.

An armed response unit and a police helicopter were directed to Newton Bewley, on the outskirts of Hartlepool, after being told that there may be someone with a weapon.

But after a thorough search, no-one with a gun was found.

The incident had been sparked at 3.50pm on Sunday and police pulled out of the village 40 minutes later.

A Cleveland Police spokeswoman said: “A passing motorist said that they had seen a man with a handgun.

“Whenever there is a mention of a gun or a knife an armed unit is sent to the incident, and the helicopter happened to be already nearby.

“Inquiries were carried out and the area was searched thoroughly. We received no further calls.”