Tyne & Wear

Durham Police memorabilia found in River Wear

The artefacts Image copyright Durham Police
Image caption The collection was found nestled on the riverbed in Durham City

A police whistle and badges dating back at least 45 years have been found in a river.

Underwater archaeologist Gary Bankhead discovered the items 6.5ft (2m) in the bed of the River Wear near Elvet Bridge in Durham.

Durham Police said it was not known how the objects ended up in the river but they might have been lost when an officer jumped in for a rescue.

The collection features a collar number which appears to belong to officer 145.

A force spokeswoman said it was unclear how old they were but they were in "remarkably good condition".

The items are marked the County Constabulary, the name used by Durham's police force between 1839 and 1974.

Mr Bankhead, a station manager with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, found the items just downstream from the bridge as he was recovering other objects which form part of the Durham River Wear Assemblage.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The items were found near Elvet Bridge in Durham

He said the river was relatively "shallow" and the visibility typically "good"' which made finding the items easier.

Mr Bankhead said: "Being able to uncover and hand over a piece of local history to them gives me great satisfaction."

The find will be displayed at Durham Police headquarters.

Insp Andrea Arthur appealed for anyone who knows the owner of the collar number to contact the force.

She said: "It's fascinating to imagine what incident caused our colleagues uniform to end up in the River Wear."

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