CLEVELAND Police has referred itself to the Independent Police Complaints Commission after a chase ended with a car crashing into a tree.

Officers are appealing for information following the incident on Catcote Road, Hartlepool, shortly after midnight.

A force spokeswoman said a grey MG failed to stop for police on The Front. Police began to follow the car and a short time later it was in collision with a tree on Catcote Road.  

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The driver of the car fled the scene.

The front seat passenger, a 22-year-old local man, was taken to James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough where he is being treated for bruising.

"The incident was referred to the force’s Professional Standards Department and has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, as is usual in such cases," said the spokeswoman.

"Anyone with information should contact police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 88213."