A MAN was arrested after being rescued from a river where he jumped in a bid to evade police.

Emergency services converged on the Framwelgate Waterside area of Durham to assist in bringing the heavily intoxicated man to safety from the River Wear.

The incident took place in mid-afternoon, on Saturday, observed by scores of visitors to the city centre.

Onlookers described seeing a heavily inebriated man in Silver Street, carrying a bottle of white rum, head butting the window of the former Marks and Spencer store.

He then tried to steal a bicycle from a group of young men, before stumbling around the busy streets and smashing a glass bottle smashed it against a bin.

Having been followed by two city street wardens to the riverside area near the Milburngate development construction area, police arrived on scene.

But the man was then seen to jump into the river, near to the Radisson Blu hotel.

One observer said at the height of the incident there were two fire appliances, three fire and rescue water rescue vehicles, three police cars and four ambulance vehicles in attendance, including one from the North-East Ambulance Service’s hazardous response team.

The man was rescued after about 45 minutes and was seen being pushed on a raft down-stream to be brought from the river, offering assistance to his rescuers by paddling.

A Durham Police spokesperson said the force received reports of a man causing a nuisance in the city Market Place at 3.25pm yesterday.

“The man, who was heavily intoxicated, had allegedly tried to headbutt a shop window and steal a bike from someone before making his way down to the riverbank near the Radisson Blu hotel.

“Officers attended the scene and attempted to engage with the man, who then jumped into the river.

“Colleagues from the fire service were then called who used a life raft to rescue him.”

The statement added: “A 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of breaching a criminal behaviour order in connection with the incident.”

He was said to remain in police custody today.