A SENIOR police officer has spoken out to reassure the public after a man was shot in a pub car park.

A 54-year-old man was shot in the back by two men as he got out of his car at the Six Mile Bridge Inn in Seaton Burn, North Tyneside, on Friday.

Northumbria Police believes the shooting was part of dispute between local criminals, and has already arrested six people in connection with the incident.

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Assistant Chief Constable Jim Campbell said last night: "I must stress these types of incidents are relatively rare in the Northumbria Police area and the level of gun crime in our region is very low when compared to other largely-populated areas.

"When these kind of incidents do happen we take swift action, as can be seen by the quick arrests weve already had.

"Police continue to patrol the area to reassure the local community and appeal for any information. A number of addresses have already been visited in connection with the inquiry, with more to come," police said.

Mr Campbell added: "This incident is not being treated as a random attack and is believed to involve internal disputes between criminals in the area.

"Criminals can have arguments and disputes between themselves. This can lead to some resorting to violence which can sometimes escalate to the point where weapons are used.

"We will not tolerate these incidents and I promise we will come down heavily on those who continue to pursue these actions.

"We always take a tough stance against the small minority who carry or use firearms to commit crime."

Police have now arrested six people in connection with the shooting - five men aged 21, 22, 23, 47 and 52, and a 25-year-old woman.

The shot man is receiving treatment in hospital, and his injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.