Emergency services have issued an explanation as to why the police helicopter was seen hovering over County Durham in the early hours of this morning (February 23).

Members of the public reported seeing the police helicopter over their houses in Willington and Crook, with many questioning why police were in the area. 

Alongside the police helicopter, armed police and other police officers were seen in Willington - which made many people question what had happened for such a large emergency service response. 

Following the shock of the huge 999 presence, Durham Police has now issued a reason for why the police helicopter and armed police were needed.

The police force said that there was a stolen van which was believed to be in the area.

After arriving on the scene, the incident was brought to a conclusion after three people were arrested in the van.

A spokesperson for Durham Police said: "At around 0.10am this morning (February 23) we were alerted to a stolen van which was believed to be in our area.


Grab our digital subscription for £5 for 5 months and stay connected with local happenings. Click here

"Officers from the Roads and Armed Policing unit and National Police Air Service (Police helicopter) sprang into action and headed towards Crook and Willington.

"The van was located and intercepted in the Willington area. Three people have been arrested.

"Investigations are ongoing."