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PICTURE: Scene of attack where dogs mauled man

Five American bulldogs were involved in an attack which left a 63-year-old man with serious injuries to his head and limbs.

Stephen Potts, 48, from Pittington was walking the animals yesterday afternoon in this area between Pittington and Belmont.

Last month, he had one arm amputated in a dog attack.

He was arrested yesterday and later bailed. The 63-year-old victim remains in hospital.

The 63-year-old man was attacked on this footpath between Pittington and Belmont. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees
Stephen Potts was walking five American bulldogs. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees


Man bailed after 'five American bulldogs' attack

A police investigation is continuing after a man was seriously injured by dogs in County Durham yesterday

Police were called to reports of five American bulldogs attacking a man in the area between Pittington and Belmont. The dogs were secured and taken to kennels where they remain. The injured 63-year-old man from Belmont was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham where he remains.

A 48-year-old man from Pittington was arrested at the scene for failing to keep his dogs under proper control. He was questioned by police and released on bail.

Police believe both men were out on dog walks at the time of the incident. Officers have confirmed that nobody else was involved, as previously believed.

"I can confirm that the 48 year old man owns 14 American bulldogs in total and although only 5 were involved in this incident all 14 have been taken to local kennels as a safety precaution. This is an ongoing investigation and my officers will be in the local area speaking with people as we work to establish exactly what happened yesterday.” “After the events of yesterday clearly questions are being asked about this man’s ability to control his animals and this will form part of our investigation. The dogs are legally held in that they are not categorised as dangerous dogs under the dangerous dogs act 1991. However under new legislation introduced only this week, new options are available including a local authority public space protection order. I would like to reassure people that all available options will be considered.”

– Neighbourhood Chief Inspector for Durham Andy Huddleston

Dog unable to work with police needs a home

Barnie needs a home

Northumbria Police hope someone will be able to give this dog a home. Barnie is a 16 month old male Dutch Herder. He is very friendly but has developed a medical condition in one of his hind legs, his kneecap is dislocates. This means he is unable to be a police dog but would make a good pet.

To find out more about Barnie and other dogs click here.

"We are looking for a home with experience of owning large energetic dogs with no young children. Barnie is free of charge."

– Northumbria Police

Man arrested after dog attacks three people

A man who had his arm amputated after a dog attack last month has been arrested after his dogs attacked three people in County Durham.

Stephen Potts from Pittington in County Durham was walking six American bulldogs in Belmont this afternoon when they began fighting with a Staffordshire bull terrier.

The owner of that dog, a 63-year-old man, is in hospital in a serious condition being treated for bites to his head and limbs. Two women are also in hospital: one was bitten on the hand, the other on the leg. Police say all the dogs have now been secured.


Met Office warning as Hurricane Gonzalo sweeps through region

High winds will sweep through North East England.

The region is expected to be hit by gale force winds and heavy rain today as the remains of Hurricane Gonzalo sweeps across Britain.

The Met Office has issued a a yellow warning for wind and is advising people to expect disruption to travel.

The strongest winds are expected as the rain clears eastwards and winds veer northwesterly through Tuesday morning.

Surface water and spray will make driving conditions difficult, as fallen leaves will affect drainage increasing the risk of surface water.

County Durham aid worker sets up Ebola hospital in Sierra Leone

Aid worker Paula Sansom has travelled to Sierra Leone. Credit: Family photo

The parents of an aid worker from County Durham, who has joined the effort to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa, say it's probably the most dangerous mission their daughter has ever undertaken.

Paula Sansom, from Middleton St George, has worked on disaster relief operations across the world.

She had just two days' notice to get to Sierra Leone, to help set up a hospital.

It's different because when she's been out to earthquakes, or tsunamis, floods, that sort of thing, you've know what you're up against.

I should imagine this one's a bit more scary because it's in the air, you don't know who your enemy is.

It's a virus, it's horrific.

– Roger Sansom, Paula's father

Houghton war memorial damaged

Police are appealing for witnesses after a war memorial was damaged in Houghton.

Police believe the damaged was caused by an air weapon. It happened at the memorial on Easington Lane Access Point on Brick Garth, Easington, between Monday, September 29 - October 12.

The memorial has been damaged where the lettering is

"This is an upsetting crime. For someone to take what appears to be 'pot shots' at a war memorial is a particularly callous act. The damage to the memorial is not just costly to repair, but more than that is the emotional upset of this act.

"We are appealing for witnesses to this incident. We'd like to hear from anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious in the area to contact police. These sorts of crime also affect the wider community, especially as we're now coming up to Remembrance Day, and the focus is once again on those who died serving their country."

– Houghton Neighbourhood Inspector Lisa Musgrove
Houghton war memorial

Prison officers cut by a third in the region

Prison officer numbers have been cut by more than a third in the North East in less than four years, according to the Howard League for Penal Reform.

That amounts to more than 600 prison officer posts in the region.

The worst hit prison is HMP Durham, where prison officer numbers have almost halved.

Here is a breakdown:

Deerbolt -33% Durham -49% Frankland -30% Holme House -40% Kirklevington -22% Low Newton -29%

"The prison system is in crisis, and these figures reveal why. While the prison population has grown, officer numbers have been cut without any thought for the consequences. A shortage of governors makes matters even worse, because officers are being taken off the wings and asked to 'act up' to fill vacancies. Having made prison officers redundant, the Ministry of Justice is now apparently struggling to recruit. These are desperate times, and ministers are resorting to desperate measures."

– Frances Crook, Howard League for Penal Reform
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