THE Teesdale & Weardale Search & Mountain Rescue Team (TWSMRT) have reported a "very busy start to the year", partly thanks to The Beast from the East.

In January, the team dealt with four requests for help from police, including searching for a missing man walking the coastal path near Easington, a despondent woman from Seaham, and locating a walker who had become ill on the Pennine Way which involved the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) along with units from the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) working together to evacuate the elderly gentleman through deep snow.

Scott Bissett, of the TWSMRT said February was quieter until The Beast from the East arrived.

He said: "Due to heavy snow regular ambulances struggled to cope and so the rescue team were called to help. The team's three vehicles were all utilised as ambulances carried out a wide variety of tasks, including transferring patients to and from most of the regions hospitals. The team's highly-trained members also treated several patients prior to transporting them to hospital."

Several trapped motorists were also rescued including a member of Northumbria Police and a lorry driver who had become stuck in snow on the B6277 between Langdon Beck and Alston.

During three days of action in the bad weather, the team logged a total of 34 separate jobs.

TWSMRT is a charitable organisation ran by volunteers. To find out more visit twsmrt.org.uk or call 01833-630999.