Two men who were found gassed to death in a car in an apparent double suicide have been named.

The bodies of Paul Williams, 38, of Hart Crescent, Blackhall Rocks, near Hartlepool, and his friend Christopher John Howe, 32, of East Street, Blackhall Colliery, were found by another friend at around 7.45am on Thursday.

The pair, who were both family men, had been at the friend's house in East Street, near where Mr Howe lived, until the early hours of Thursday morning.

They left at around 1am in Mr Howe's white Vauxhall Astra, returning sometime before 7.45am.

After going downstairs to take his dog out, the friend found the car in his rear yard with its engine running and a hosepipe attached to its exhaust.

Although detectives are not treating the deaths as suspicious, they are anxious to speak to anyone who can help trace the movements of the K-registered Astra between 1am and 7.45am on Thursday.

They should contact Peterlee police on 0191-586 2621.