Police are searching for a man who fled from a North East high-street premises after he was reportedly wielding a “bladed article”.

Northumbria Police are looking for a man who was reportedly in possession of a “bladed article” on Newbottle Street in Houghton-le-spring just after 2pm yesterday (July 18).

The “distressed” man did not make any threats to members of the public and left the area before police arrived at the scene.

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Enquiries are now ongoing to locate the man as there are significant concerns for his welfare.

A full statement from Northumbria Police said: “Shortly before 2.20pm yesterday (Tuesday) we were alerted to a man who appeared to be in a state of distress inside a premises on Newbottle Street in Houghton-le-Spring.

“It was reported that the man may have been in possession of a bladed article. He did not make any threats but there were significant concerns for his welfare.

“Officers attended but the man had already left the area. Enquiries are ongoing to locate him.

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“The man, or anyone with information, can contact police using the ‘Tell Us Something’ page on our website quoting reference NP-20230718-0642.”

One eyewitness told The Northern Echo: “My partner was finishing work and saw the large amount of police along the road.

“None of us knew what was happening at the time so we were quite shocked.”