POLICE have rewarded the efforts of a team of volunteer lifesavers with a contribution to their fuel costs.

The Teesdale and Weardale Search and Rescue Team has received £1,500 from Durham Police Authority to help to cover the organisation's running costs.

Inspector Kevin Tuck, of Barnard Castle police, asked the police authority to support the team with a community grant as a thank-you for its vital help.

Insp Tuck said: "When we have people missing in the middle of nowhere, the search and rescue team donates a lot of personal time and effort.

"They have expertise which we don't often have ourselves. Although we have police search teams, for a large search this would mean drawing police off the streets. So by helping us, indirectly, the rescue team is helping keep anti-social behaviour down."

The rescue team, which has 40 volunteers, was called out 31 times in the last 12 months and spends more than £2,000 on fuel each year.

Spokesman Steve Owers said: "We can now spend money on more lifesaving equipment as opposed to the routine things. Some of our searches can last four or five days and can be anywhere in the county so money towards fuel will be very beneficial."

Inspector Tuck said he was working towards providing funding each year.