A NORTH-EAST sprout last night raised almost £100 for charity in an online auction.

The solitary vegetable was sold for £99.50 on Internet auction site eBay at 8.37pm.

The unwanted green - cooked in lightly salted water for six minutes on Christmas Day and then stored in the freezer - attracted 55 bids, after going on sale for a penny.

The item was sold by a Darlington man known only as Andrew or by his online user name crazypavingpreacher.

He claimed the sprout was "untouched by knife, fork or human mouth" and offered to post it to the winning bidder for free, "tastefully wrapped in aluminium foil and sealed in a polythene bag, encased in a box".

The seller said in his advert: "As I was about to wash up I noticed this little Brussels sprout alone in the pan and I took pity on him and promised him a new home."

The sale was to raise money for Christian Aid charity Tearfund. The organisation said last night it welcomed the gesture.

Tearfund spokesman Jonathan Spencer said: "If the proceeds come to Tearfund, it will help one of millions of people around the world in desperate poverty. If only all the leftover sprouts could raise as much."

The seller asked the successful bidder, user name 5077phil, to send him a cheque made payable to Tearfund.

The charity works in developing countries to provide a number of services, including health care, literacy classes and clean water.

A number of other sprouts are for sale on the site, some for as little as 99p.

* Are you the mysterious seller of the Darlington sprout? If so, contact our reporters on (01325) 505022.