STAFF at a residential home turned the tables on prankster Andy Johnson when they arranged to have him arrested during his birthday celebrations.

Wheelchair-bound Mr Johnson was celebrating his 34th birthday with fellow residents at the Grange, in Redworth Road, Shildon, when local beat bobby PC Mandy Payne turned up to arrest him under the 'Shildon Act of 1988'.

As the colour drained from his face, Mr Johnson was relieved to discover that he had been set up by PC Payne and staff at the home - who had arranged a tour for him of nearby Spennymoor Police Station.

PC Payne said: "Andy had written to the chief constable to ask if he could be given a tour of a police station. On speaking to the staff at the Grange, we heard that Andy keeps them on their toes and is always playing pranks.

"We all thought it would be a nice idea to turn the tables and do something he wasn't expecting as a birthday surprise.''

Staff and residents have managed to keep the pending arrest a secret from an unsuspecting Mr Johnson and they were helped with their plan by Shildon Community Safety.

PC Payne said: "We could not have pulled this off without the help of Shildon Community Safety because they supplied us with a community bus and driver to take Andy to the police station.''

Mr Johnson said that the arrest was the best birthday present he had had. He said: "My Uncle was an ex-police sergeant and my dad was a prison warden so I have an interest in the police.

"It was shocking, but a nice surprise.'