The gas board has received a "high proportion" of calls about a gas-like odour hanging over Teesside. 

The Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the North of England's gas distributor, has said that they have had a higher-than-usual number of customers ringing in with concerns over a natural gas smell. 

Now, a multi-agency response is being pulled together to identify the source of the stink. 

Most recently, the highest proportion of concerned calls come from within Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees and Hartlepool. 

Work to map the location of the odour suggests that it may be being generated somewhere in the vicinity of Cowpen Bewley, Seal Sands, Greatham and Port Clarence and teams are now being mobilised on the ground as part of the co-ordinated multi-agency effort.

So far, rapid response teams have found no evidence that the smell is linked to natural gas, or the gas pipe network, but the NGN has reassured their customers that safety is a "top priority", and their engineers have been investigating "each and every report". 

Ian Waddle, Head of Customer Operations Support at Northern Gas Networks said: “We are continuing to work with our partners in the region to identify the source of the odour and through our joint agency working we have identified a number of possible sources. 

"These are hard to rule out or confirm without ground observation so you may see our agency partners out and about at hot spots where we’ve received the highest number of reports of a ‘gas-like’ odour.

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"They will be helping to trace the odour and using specialist technology to help identify the smell.”

Meanwhile, monitoring is continuing at key industrial sites in the area using specialist equipment and a thorough environmental mapping exercise is underway to plot events linked to the smell, including tidal impacts and rainfall.

Ian continued: “While this situation is ongoing it is vitally important that members of the public don’t get complacent and it is essential that if they smell gas they call the National Gas Emergency Service immediately on 0800 111 999 so that our engineers can come out and investigate.”