AN explosion boomed across the Teesside and Hartlepool area this afternoon as part of an operation to dismantle and recycle a 1,400 tonne oil platform.

The controlled explosion was planned by Able UK at its Able Seaton Port facility near Hartlepool this afternoon.

It look place later than expected, shortly before 1pm, and a loud boom was followed by a plume of white smoke as the oil platform topside jacket was blown up.

The operation was undertaken as part of a contract with Heerema Marine Contractors for the dismantling and recycling of several platforms.

The dismantling and recycling of more than 98 per cent of the platform will now be carried out over the next six days.