FIVE charity workers were behind bars for a good cause.

Shirley Smith, co-founder of If U Care Share Foundation; Ben Campbell of Transform Drug Policy; Shelley Johnson, of Walking With The Wounded; Sandra Hartley, of Mencap; and Cheryl Adamson, a member of the Independent Custody Visiting Scheme; were locked in the cells at Consett Police Station from 9pm on Tuesday to 7am on Wednesday to raise awareness of mental health.

It is the third year in a row that the station opened up for worthwhile causes. Volunteers hoped spending the night behind bars gets people talking about mental health issues suffered by those detained in a cell. Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg supported the event.

Mrs Smith said: “Some might not relish the thought of spending the night in a cell but some people with mental health issues simply don’t have the choice.

"I experienced some of what detainees go through and appreciated how completely inappropriate this would be for someone with a drug problem. I can imagine feeling isolated, frightened and claustrophobic– and I only spent 12 hours incarcerated, with a door I could open if I wanted to. I left the cell this morning but thousands of people won't be able to. "I hope that as well as fundraising for If U Care Share Foundation with every penny raised helping to save lives and support those bereaved by suicide, we can also get talking about how we accommodate those with mental health issues when they are detained."