IF you go down to the shops today, you’re in for a big surprise.

Dozens of teddy bears have been hidden in Durham’s city centre shop and cafe windows for an annual summer bear hunt.

A total of 115 stuffed bears, each in costume and emblazoned with a safety message, have been placed around the city’s retailers with families challenged to find as many as they can.

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The teddy treasure hunt has been organised by the Safe City initiative Each bear will be wearing a red, yellow, blue, green sash to represent a key safety message.

Red means “Say ‘No’ to strangers”, yellow means “Keep it Hidden, Keep it Safe”, blue means “Stay Safe Around Rivers and Ponds” and green means “Keep Durham City Tidy”.

PCSO Leesa Bennison from the Neighbourhood Policing Team in Durham City said: “The idea is that people, particularly children, will get involved to hunt for the Safe City Bears and every time they find one they will be reminded of the safety message that particular bear is representing.

“It’s a great way to keep busy over the holiday period and it’s free to enter.

“The person who finds most bears will receive a £25 gift voucher to spend in the shop or café of their choice.

“We would encourage as many people as possible to get involved in the bear hunt and in doing so help us to make Durham the safest city in the country.”

Competitors have until Sunday, August 31 to track down the 115 bears, with the winner announced on September 3.

Entry forms and post boxes for completed forms are available from several shops and buildings across the city.