STRIPPING a drunken man whilst asleep – this headline 150 years ago this week in the Darlington & Stockton Times demanded reading.

“On Saturday night, a man named Robert Pattison, of Stanhope, had been at Bishop Auckland, where he had partaken rather too freely of drink, and then set out for Shildon, but on the way had lain down by the road side and fallen asleep,” said the report.

“While in this state, someone had gone and stripped him of his trousers and Wellington boots, and also robbed him of his watch and money.

“He awoke about two o’clock in the morning and had not the slightest recollection of how he had been robbed. He went to the nearest house and aroused the inmates, who lent him a pair of trousers. He then made his way to Bishop Auckland and gave information to the police, but up to the present, not the least clue has been obtained.”