POLICE across the North are on the look-out for a vulnerable teenage girl missing from a hospital unit.

The 17-year-old, only identified as Kimberley, disappeared from a hospital next to Durham Tees Valley Airport at the weekend.

Checks of tour operators and airlines showed that the teenager, whose hair is dyed orange, did not board a flight.

Darlington police last night appealed to travellers, motorists and commuters to help the search.

Acting Sergeant John Spooner said: "We are very concerned about her vulnerability.

"She was last seen about 1.30pm on Saturday afternoon, in and around Durham Tees Valley Airport.

"We know she did not catch a flight. We are asking for anyone who was in that area, on a train, a taxi, bus or car if they have seen her. Obviously, the more eyes and ears we have on the ground, the better.''

Kimberley is described as white, about 5ft 5ins and thick set, with a pale complexion.

The teenager was last seen wearing black denim trousers, a black jacket and a black poncho.

Sgt Spooner said that, although Kimberley had gone missing from a hospital unit, she was not detained as a patient.

He said: "We have information which suggests she may be in different areas of the country, Leeds or Newcastle.''

Her description has been circulated to the police forces in those areas.

"Our main concern is her vulnerability and we would urge anybody who knows anything of her, or who has seen in any of these areas, to contact Darlington police,'' said Sgt Spooner.

He declined to give details about her medical background.

Twenty members of Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team were called out by the police to help in a search for Kimberley on land around the airport over the weekend.

Team spokesman Steve Owers said "Although the young woman had only been missing for a few hours, the police were concerned for her welfare, especially as the weather was very cold at the time.''

Darlington police can be contacted on (01325) 467681.