FOUR men have been arrested for firearms offences following a police chase through County Durham last night.

Police say the men were arrested near Consett and a handgun recovered as part of a pre-planned police operation.

Police this morning issued a statement saying; “The arrests were made between 6pm and 8pm following a short car pursuit in Consett which was part of a planned police operation.

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“The car being pursued was swiftly and safely brought to a controlled stop by the police at the Jolly Drovers roundabout in the Leadgate area of the town and a man arrested”.

Three other men were arrested following the pursuit and as a result of further enquiries.

No one was injured during the operation. A weapon, believed to be a Webley revolver and ammunition which appears in full working order, was recovered nearby.

The road from Hanging Stone Lane to Broom Lane was closed for approximately four hours following the operation.

The men from the Derwentside and Sunderland area, aged between 23 and 28, are being held at police stations across County Durham.

DCI Steve Chapman leading the investigation said; “Members of the public should be reassured that we will not tolerate the possession or use of illegal firearms and will take swift and robust action against those who participate in this activity.”