TEN years ago, Darlington pupils returning from a trip to France were shocked to discover the banging on the bottom of their coach was a suspected illegal immigrant.

Quick-thinking staff from Hummersknott School, in Darlington, heard the noise and called police, who told them to keep driving around London until they could meet the coach and arrest the man, who was clinging on for dear life.

Teachers calmed down the worried students, aged 11 to 13, by starting a 20-minute sing-along of tunes including Always Look on the Bright Side of Life and If You're Happy and You Know It.

The drama unfolded after a week long trip to Paris and London. The group had travelled through the Channel Tunnel and more than 60 miles to the outskirts of the capital before they heard the banging.

Staff called 999, while the driver continued on to prevent the man from jumping off. When police arrived, they found the man hanging on to the rear axle of the vehicle.

In Aycliffe Village, a builder told of the terrifying moment he found himself holding a First World War hand grenade in the palm of his hand.

Neville Boyes was renovating an empty house in Heighington Street, Aycliffe Village when he unknowingly uncovered the grenade.

Mr Boyes, of NB Builders, based in Aycliffe Village, had gutted the kitchen of the terraced house and had taken the rubbish into the back garden.

Mr Boyes, 44, said: “We had gone off for tea and I saw an old tin mug on the ground. I picked it up and there was a plastic bag in it, so I tipped it out into my hand, opened the bag and there it was. Bomb disposal experts later found that the grenade was inert.”

In national news, The News of the World was sacrificed after a series of increasingly damaging allegations left its reputation in tatters.

In a move that sent shockwaves through the industry, James Murdoch, chairman of News International, said the 168-year history of Britain’s best-selling newspaper would end that Sunday.

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