TRANSPORT company boss Peter Cook has taken up an historical ceremonial role to add to his busy workload in the coming year.

The 49-year-old Durham businessman was last month selected to serve as the county's latest High Sheriff.

In keeping with tradition, his name was 'pricked' from a shortlist to become High Sheriff for the year 2003/4. He was sworn into the post in a ceremony presided over by resident Judge Richard Lowden at Durham Crown Court on Monday.

Mr Cook, of Broomshields Hall, Satley, is the founder of a transport company bearing his name.

Mr Cook, who is backed by chaplain Canon Adrian Dauber during his shrieval year, will welcome visiting members of the judiciary to the county over the next 12 months. He is also looking forward to working with the probation service and victim support schemes in the county, as well as Durham Agency Against Crime.

"I'm following the lead of my immediate predecessors in that, on top of the normal requirements of High Sheriff, I'll try to play a part in crime prevention and victim support in the county."

Mr Cook has also been a board member of the charitable group, The Durham County Foundation, since its inception in 1995.