WORKMEN have uncovered historic bones as they dug up paving stones next to a church yard.
Police were originally called to the grim discovery in Stockton town centre but it was soon established that the bones were hundreds of years old.
Stockton Borough Council, which is carrying out regeneration work throughout the town centre, said the skeleton remains were probably connected to Stockton Parish Church.
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Councillor Mike Smith , the council’s cabinet member for regeneration and transport, said: “Earlier today a skeleton was discovered underneath pavement at the north end of the High Street which was being excavated as part of the on-going redevelopment of Stockton Town Centre.
“The police were informed and have been to the site and have confirmed that it is an ancient burial.
“Stockton Council is now working with Tees Archaeology to determine the age of the skeleton and to contact the Home Office to gain the consent required to respectfully and peacefully remove the remains so they can be re-buried in an alternative location.
“Work in the area will stop until the skeleton is relocated, in the meantime the workforce has been instructed to focus their efforts on works in other areas of the High Street.”