EIGHTEEN inmates at a young offenders' institution were involved in a riot that left four prison officers injured, The Northern Echo can reveal.

Violence erupted just before 8pm last night at HM YOI Deerbolt, at Startforth, near Barnard Castle, after staff tried to discipline one offender.

It led to a riot lasting more than four hours with specialist officers drafted into regain control of C-wing.

The Northern Echo understands those involved in the disorder have been place in the segregation unit at Deerbolt or moved to other prisons in the area.

 Durham Police said: "We were called at 7.45pm on Wednesday night following reports of a riot at Deerbolt Young Offenders’ Institution, in Barnard Castle.

"At least four prison officers are believed to have been assaulted during the incident. However, they are not thought to have sustained any serious or life-threatening injuries.

"A police investigation is ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the incident."

The Northern Echo: Prisoners rioted in one of the wings at Deerbolt YOI in Barnard Castle.Prisoners rioted in one of the wings at Deerbolt YOI in Barnard Castle.

A source, describing themselves as, “a concerned member of staff”, said: “The prison has been on edge all week”, adding that experienced staff have been trying their hardest to keep things settled.

The national ‘Tornado’ team, specially trained officers brought in to handle such situations, and sometimes referred to as the ‘riot squad’, were said to have been called to help deal with the unrest.

Members of the Tornado team were previously summoned to help quell a disturbance which broke out during an association period on B Wing, in 2015.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said: "Our highly-skilled staff successfully resolved an incident involving 18 prisoners on one wing at HMYOI Deerbolt on Wednesday night. Four members of staff and four prisoners were treated in hospital for minor injuries.

“Violence and disorder in our prisons is not tolerated and those responsible will be punished for their actions.

“We are investing £2.75 billion to improve our jails and make them safer – creating 10,000 additional prison places and introducing tough airport-style security to clamp down on the illicit items which fuel violence.”