HIS Newcastle United team-mates may not have scored in last weekend's goalless draw with Aston Villa, but Magpies midfielder Joey Barton had few problems hitting the net today.

The footballer took part in a police-backed angling scheme for young people at Witton Park, near Bishop Auckland in County Durham, and managed to catch a number of fish.

Barton was at the headquarters of Get Hooked on Fishing, which was launched by County Durham police officer PC Mick Watson seven years ago.

There are now centres across the country and Barton visited the 40-acre site to join youngsters involved with the scheme.

The England international used to fish when he was younger, and his involvement was arranged through the Sporting Chance charity.

He fulfilled the engagement despite having flown to London and back for a scan on his injured fifth metatarsal which has ruled him out of Newcastle's opening games.

"It's a great initiative and it's something that would have benefited us as kids," he said.

"It takes kids away from troublesome spots and gives them the chance to spend some time doing this.

"I've got the bug back a bit from doing this and I think the gaffer (Sam Allardyce) wants me to find another sport instead of golf, so I could see myself doing this more in the future."

PC Hutchinson said: "We are delighted to have Joey Barton on board. In our area alone, more than 1,200 young people have taken part in the scheme since it started and it continues to be a real success story."