A white van has been deliberately parked in public view on the Great North Run course .

It is understood police were called after the vehicle was left on a roundabout in South Shields on the route between Newcastle and South Shields on Sunday morning.

The incident occurred as 60,000 runners were taking part in the world-famous Tyneside half marathon.

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It is understood writing on the van was covered up before it was taken away.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “At around 10.55am today (Sunday), a van was left abandoned on the King George Road roundabout, part of the Great North Run route.

“The van has been assessed and there is not believed to be any threat to race participants or the wider public.

“With the support of Great North Run organisers, the decision has been made to uplift the van after the conclusion of the race, to minimise any potential disruption.

“A number of enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances and locate the driver.”

In July four men were arrested after a hearse and second car, a Subaru, were driven onto the pitch during half-time of the Dunston UTS v Gateshead friendly at Dunston Football Club.