A POLICE watchdog inquiry was launched today (Sunday July 6) following the death of a man found at the foot of cliffs shortly after he was arrested.

The body of Karl David Carlson was discovered on the beach near the Marsden Grotto pub, South Tyneside, shortly after 1am.

Mr Carlson, 26, of Boldon Colliery, South Tyneside, was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.

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His death took place a short time after he was detained in connection with an outbreak of violence in the car park above the pub, which is partly dug into the cliff face, south of South Shields.

Police went to the scene, off the A183 Coast Road, at Marsden, after receiving a report of the fight, at 12.34am.

Mr Carlson was arrested and placed into a police vehicle while officers returned to deal with the on-going incident.

But he was said to have escaped the vehicle and fled on foot.

Inquiries were carried out to locate him and his body was found at the bottom of the cliffs near the grotto, at 1.03am.

The Great North Air Ambulance was summoned and attempts at resuscitation were made by the officers prior to the arrival of paramedics.

Ambulance crew members then took over treatment, but Mr Carlson was pronounced dead by paramedics shortly after arrival at the scene.

The area around the cliffs near to the grotto was cordoned off as inquiries were made by police during the course of the day.

Due to the contact between the officers and the deceased man the incident was referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for investigation, in accordance with police procedures.

Northumbria Police’s assistant chief constable Winton Keenen said: “This is an incredibly tragic incident and our thoughts are very much with the family and friends of Mr Carlson.

“As a matter of course the incident was referred to the IPCC and we’re co-operating fully with them.

“Specialist officers are providing support to the family.

“I’d like to reassure people that we’re working closely with the IPCC to establish the full details of this incident.”

He said day-trippers to the coastal landmark should expect disruption while the inquiries continued at the scene.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police by ringing 101, and request extension 69191.