A POLICE station and school were evacuated and cordoned off in Consett on Monday after 'historic ammunition' was handed in to officers.

The alarm was raised about 10.45am when residents living near Consett Police Station, on Parliament Street, were asked to leave their properties.

The street was cordoned off by police for several hours but lifted at 2pm and reopened to traffic.

A Durham Police spokesman said: "A cordon imposed after historical ammunition was handed in to Consett Police Station has now been lifted.

"The ammunition was handed in by a member of the public and, although there were no immediate concerns, the station and nearby buildings were evacuated as a precaution.

"A cordon was also put in place around the area to ensure nobody was put at undue risk, but has since been lifted.

"Experts from the Army’s bomb disposal unit at Catterick Garrison were called to the scene and remain on site. The ammunition will be taken to a remote location shortly where it will be safely destroyed in a controlled detonation.

"We would like to thank members of the public for their patience while we dealt with the incident.

Speaking at the time of the incident, Inspector Keith Wardle, said: "Articles were handed in on Sunday by a member of the public. We've had to evacuate the police station and we've had to call the army bomb disposal team in to have a look at various items and make sure that they're safe." 

Delta North, which runs an alternative education programme for young people, said 56 youngsters aged 14 to 16 had been sent home from lessons.

Billy Robson, chief executive of the charity, said about the evacuation of the nearby school: “They told us to evacuate as soon as possible. They said they were evacuating for up to 400 metres so we have gone along with what we have been told.

“Our evacuation procedures were put in force. As soon as they told us we locked the school down and got everyone off the premises.

“They are all safe and sound. We have practised this so it was all very cool, calm and collected.”