Hopeful treasure hunters braved the weather to turn out in their thousands yesterday, when the Antiques Roadshow visited the North-East.

FROM crumpled newspaper wrappings and battered boxes, curious and unusual artefacts began to emerge as people waited to see if they had unearthed hidden gems.

As soon as the doors opened to the BBC Antiques Roadshow, which was being filmed in Hartlepool yesterday, people poured in clutching their treasures.

More than 2,000, including some who had queued for hours in the rain, turned up throughout the day with family heirlooms, household treasures and car boot bargains. Each one had a tale to tell.

William Yull, of Hartlepool, took along the desk used by Bram Stoker when he wrote Dracula. It was given to his wife five years ago.

He said: "My wife took it but wasn't sure about it and was going to throw it on the bonfire, but I stopped her.

"There is no value in the piece as it has been chopped up and destroyed. I brought it along for historical reasons."

Others, who took items along, just out of interest and to find out more information about them, left feeling pleasantly surprised.

Patricia Somerset-Brooks, from Middlesbrough, had a mini barrage balloon, which her parents had bought her when she was a child.

She was delighted to find that it was worth £80 to £120.

However, some people were left feeling a little upset. Debora and Lenny Kirk, from Stockton, took along a teddy bear they found in a car scrapyard 18 years ago. They thought it might be worth hundreds, but were told they would only get £40 to £50 for it.

Mrs Kirk said: "I found the teddy in the back of a car in a scrapyard and knew I had to take it home because it looked so lonely.

"I thought it might be worth a bit of money, but unfortunately it is not."

Christopher Lewis, the executive producer of the show, said: "At every roadshow there is always something different.

"We had a fantastic day uncovering hidden treasures from attics around the North-East."