AN engineering trainee from a Newton Aycliffe factory has won a national award.

Tommy Turnbull, of Durham Precision Engineering (DPE), was named craftsman of the year by the Gauge and Toolmakers' Association.

The 21-year-old joined DPE, which designs and manufactures precision tools on Heighington Lane Business Park, aged 16.

He has since gained his Ordinary and Higher National Certificates and is studying for a foundation degree in engineering technology.

He has completed an apprenticeship to become a trainee production engineer.

Mr Turnbull, of Newton Aycliffe, said: "I do not know about being the best in the country, but I was really chuffed when I won the Craftsman of the Year award.

"I was absolutely shocked, it was a great surprise."

DPE managing director Tom Stoddart said: "We are very proud of Tommy, and his success shows just what can be done by giving people a proper apprenticeship and thorough training, and how quickly they can progress in the company."

The title was Mr Turnbull's second award after he was named South-West Durham Apprentice of the Year.