A BODY, believed to be that of a missing teenage boy, has been found in the River Wear near Bishop Auckland.

A multi-agency search operation was launched last night (Sunday, February 23) following reports that a person had gone into the river near Toronto Bridge, or Newton Cap Viaduct.

Durham Constabulary has confirmed that, sadly, the body of a teenager has this morning been found in the river.

A spokesperson said: "Formal identification has yet to take place, but it is believed to be the body of a 13-year-old boy.

"His family have been informed and our thoughts are with them at this tragic time.

"His death is not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner."

Police thanked colleagues from Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue Team, County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, National Police Air Service (NPAS) and the Coastguard for their assistance during the search.

As hundreds of people sent their sypathies to the boy's families via social media, Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison extended her thoughts to them.

She said: “I’m devastated to hear the news that a body was found in the River Wear this morning. To lose a loved one is agonising, and my thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family and friends.

"My sincere thanks go to all the agencies involved in the search, including the local police, mountain rescue, and the coastguard.

"Their work is outstanding, especially in such difficult conditions. My thoughts also go out to the individuals who took part in the search, who I know will have had an emotional stake in it.

"Myself and my team will be there to offer support to anyone affected by this sad news.”