THREE men held on suspicion of firearms offences following a dramatic arrest have been released on bail.

The men – aged 19, 22 and 30 – were arrested in Yarm Road, Darlington, on Sunday (February 16) tea time.

Plain-clothed officers fired shots at the van’s tyres, using an ‘enforced stop’ technique designed to intercept armed suspects.

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A Durham Police spokeswoman said: "Officers recovered an imitation firearm and a baseball bat from the vehicle.

"A machete was recovered separately."

The force had initially denied that shots were fired during the incident, which was attended by dozens of uniformed officers.

It was then confirmed on Monday that the enforced stop tactic had been used.

The spokeswoman confirmed that the men, who are from across the North-East, had been bailed until April pending further inquires.