1. ITV Report

Businesses evacuated as sinkhole opens in Bishop Auckland

Newgate Street has been closed while emergency services are on the scene Photo:

Businesses have been evacuated and people are being warned to avoid Newgate Street in Bishop Auckland after a sinkhole opened this afternoon.

Eye witness Chris Leach, who owns local business Baby and Toddler Kingdom on Newgate Street, told ITV Tyne Tees of the moment he noticed the sinkhole:

A customer came in around 3pm and said to my wife 'have you seen the hole outside?' so she went and checked and couldn't believe it. It had come from nowhere and definitely wasn't there this morning.

She rang me and I immediately told her to stop people from walking along that section of the pavement, right next to the road where the sinkhole has opened. I put bollards out and rang the police.

As soon as they got here they closed the road and all the businesses along the street have been evacuated.

Most were already closed so it's not caused too much trouble but this is one of the roads used by people getting to Kynren so it's going to cause a few problems tonight.

There's no way to tell how big this hole is or how big it could become at the moment.

– Chris Leach, joint owner of Baby and Toddler Kingdom

Meanwhile Durham Constabulary has issued the following warning:

Durham County Council currently dealing with a sink hole on Newgate Street, Bishop Auckland. Road closed - please avoid the area if possible.

– Durham Constabulary spokesperson

Emergency services remain on the scene.