LIVES could have been put at risk by youths who threw bricks on to a dual carriageway from a bridge, police have warned.

A motorist was left shaken after a brick that was thrown from the footbridge over the A19, at Old Shotton, Peterlee, smashed the windscreen of his vehicle.

He was travelling south in a Vauxhall Vectra when the incident took place on Wednesday.

Youths, who appeared to be dressed in school uniform, were seen on the footbridge throwing objects at cars passing below.

A police spokesman said it appeared that children going home from school were responsible.

"Had it been something heavier thrown from the bridge it could have penetrated the windscreen, and it could have been more serious.

"What they did was mindless. If they give it a bit more thought they would realise it has potentially serious consequences."

Police have appealed to any drivers who have suffered from hooligans throwing missiles, or who may have witnessed this or any other incident, to come forward.

Anyone with information about the incident, which occurred at 3.30pm, can call police on 0191-586 2621.