A CRUEL fake news hoax saw two Darlington sisters pictured on front pages across the country as possible victims of the Manchester suicide bomber – despite them not being involved in the terrorist attack at all.

Images of eighteen-year-old Anna Heward and Niamh Bishop, 13, were circulated by trolls in the immediate aftermath of the bombing at the Manchester Arena on Monday.

Their family spoke to The Northern Echo today in a bid to reassure all who know them that they are safe – and never even attended the Ariana Grande concert.

The pair were said to be missing, with thousands of people re-tweeting frantic pleas to trace them that were posted by trolls on Twitter and across the internet.

In fact, neither had attended the Ariana Grande concert and had instead fallen victim to a cruel troll who stole Ms Heward's photographs and gave a fake name to her younger sister in a series of disturbing tweets.

To the horror of their families, the images later appeared on the front page of the Daily Star and on The Express website in stories about people still missing from the concert.

Millions of people saw their images and their family were inundated with messages of concern from those who believed the pair were caught up in the atrocity.

Police are now investigating the trolls behind the cruel hoax while the newspapers that published the images are believed to be subject to complaints from the family.