A WOMAN police officer had to undergo plastic surgery after being savagely attacked by a Japanese Akita dog.

PC Helen Pearson, of Crook Police, suffered serious injuries to her arms, legs and chest, a court heard.

The attack took place when PC Pearson went to High Househope Farm, Tow Law, County Durham, at noon on August 26 last year.

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The dog was one of eight belonging to Morag Watson, 51, who was not at the farm at the time.

Prosecutor David Maddison, told Newton Aycliffe magistrates that as PC Pearson approached, the dog,  fastened to the house by a chain, began to bark.

She was unable to get past it to reach the door and that as she backed away, the dog broke free and attacked her - leaving the officer bleeding heavily.

He said that it only stopped after PC Pearson managed to hit it.

The officer spent some time in hospital and required 36 stitches and underwent plastic surgery. She will suffer permanent scarring.

Darren Brown, mitigating, said Watson, of Eskdale Place, Newton Aycliffe, had kept animals all of her life and had never known of such an attack.

He also produced statements from farm visitors saying the dog was not threatening.

He said Watson, who pleaded guilty to a charge of being in charge of a dog dangerously out of control, was unbelievably shaken by the attack.

The dog has been seized by the police and an application will be made to have it destroyed and to ban Watson from owning dogs.

The case was adjourned for sentence until February 1 and Watson was granted unconditional bail.