A MAN in his 30s suffered a serious head injury following an assault in Darlington last night.

An investigation is under way after the incident in an alleyway between Hargreave Terrace and Park Place, off Victoria Road, at about 11pm last night.

The victim was taken to the James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, where his condition is this morning described as critical but stable.

The alleyway, which links Darlington railway station and the Royal Mail sorting office, was cordoned off to members of the public this morning.

Yellow incident markers have been placed throughout the back alley, with investigations likely to continue during the morning.

Crime scene investigators arrived at about 10.30am.

Inspector Caroline Dawson, of Darlington neighbourhood police team, said: “We are keen to speak to anyone who was in the area surrounding the Co-op Pharmacy and Wing-On Chinese takeaway between 8pm and 11pm on Thursday evening.

“A police cordon is currently in place while crime scene investigators and officers continue to investigate this incident.

“If anyone thinks they saw or heard anything suspicious they should call the Serious Crime Team on 101, alternatively they can call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800-555-111."

Residents of a flat in Hargreaves Terrace, which is behind the cordon, said they went to bed as normal last night and woke up to find police tape outside their front door.

A woman resident said they had not heard any disturbance overnight. 

A woman, who saw the scene as she was taking her daugther to school, said: "There was blood all over the pavement, you can't see it now because the police have covered it over with bags, but it looked really serious.

"No one seems to know what has happened other than it looks like a serious assault or a stabbing due to the amount of blood."