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Stolen skulls belonged to brothers who both died aged 16

Police were called to the graveyard on Saturday after reports that a grave had been disturbed Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees News

Two skulls taken from a grave in Metal Bridge, County Durham, belonged to two brothers who both died aged 16. The theft is believed to be part of a feud between traveller families, according to police.

The grave belonged to Levi George Price, who died in 2001 and Gareth Price, who died in 2005.

Levi Price was found hanging from a rope in a garden shed by his father, an inquest at the time was told.

His father, Sailus Price, said Levi had seemed "perfectly normal" the previous evening when he had gone out with friends.

The following morning, on February 27 2001, Mr Price, a tree-feller, went to his garden shed and found his son hanging from a nylon rope attached to a girder.

He said: "All I can think of was that he had an argument with his girlfriend the previous evening. There was nothing else troubling him."

South Durham coroner Colin Penna described Levi's death as a "very tragic story" but could not be sure he intended suicide.

Skulls removed from graves in feud among traveller families

Two skulls have been taken from a grave as part of what police believe is a feud among travelling families.

Durham Constabulary officers were called to the cemetery on Bridge Street in Metal Bridge near Ferryhill at around 11.45am on Saturday, November 21st, following a report that a grave had been disturbed and a headstone damaged. It is believed that the damage took place overnight on Friday, November 20.

There has been a police presence at the graveyard since Saturday Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees News

The grave that was damaged belonged to two men who were both aged 16 when they died; Levi George Price, who died in 2001 and Gareth Price, who died in 2005.

Following forensic examinations over the weekend it has been established that the skulls of both bodies have been removed.

Credit: ITV News Tyne Tees

This is a sickening incident which has understandably upset many people.

We believe that the damage to the graves is part of an ongoing feud between members of travelling families.

This has taken things too far. It is depraved and goes against the religious and cultural beliefs of decent people.“What I’d like to say to the community is this feud has to stop and we need anyone with information about this incident or the wider feud to contact us.

You can call police, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously, and be assured we will treat any information you pass to us with complete confidentiality.

– Detective Superintendent Adrian Green

Forensic teams at scene of 'disturbed grave'

A forensic tent has been put up in a cordoned off cemetery in County Durham after a grave was disturbed and a headstone damaged.

There has been a large police presence at Metal Bridge Cemetery, near Spennymoor, since they were called on November 21.

"There were about eight police vans in the area and it was taped off.

"I asked if we could go along and he said ‘no’.

"I asked what had happened and they said: ‘I'm sorry, I can’t tell you’.

"As we were leaving a PCSO came down as asked what our names were so we told him.

"I was alarmed to see that something like that had happened so close to where we go every day.

"I was amazed at such a heavy police presence, I couldn't believe it."

– Anonymous witness

“Police were called to Metal Bridge Cemetery at 11.45am on Saturday following a report that grave had been disturbed and a headstone damaged."

– Durham Constabulary

Durham Police are investigating.

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Police searching for missing Ferryhill man Darren Lawler confirm a body has been found

Darren Lawler Credit: Durham Police

Durham Police say the body of Darren Lawler, 31, who went missing from his home Ferryhill on June 11th, has been found.

The discovery was made at a property on Bessemer Street, a short distance from his home in Blandford Street.

Formal identification has yet to take place, however Mr Lawler's family has been informed.

His death is being treated as unexplained with a post-mortem examination being held into the cause.

Over the last two months, dozens of members of Mr Lawler's community as well as around 30 volunteers from both Teessdale & Weardale and Cleveland Mountain Rescue had searched for him.

Search continues for missing County Durham man

Teesdale & Weardale and Cleveland Mountain Rescue Teams spent much of Saturday searching for Darren Lawler who has been missing from his home in Ferryhill since early June. Credit: Teesdale & Weardale and Cleveland Mountain Rescue

Mountain rescue teams are continuing their search for a missing man from County Durham.

Darren Lawler, 31, has been missing from his home in Ferryhill since June 11. He is described as white, of medium build with short dark brown hair. Darren was wearing dark trousers, white trainers and a grey top when he went missing.

Twenty-five volunteers from both Teessdale & Weardale and Cleveland Mountain Rescue Teams spend much of Saturday searching Ferryhill Carrs Nature Rescue.

Steve Owers, Teessdale & Weardale Deputy Team Leader, said:

It was one of the more challenging areas we have searched for some time.

The open water was covered by our Canoe group but the reedbeds had to be searched on foot. With vegetation above head height, the ground was so soft that at times we were sinking knee deep and with it being a warm day it was extremely difficult for our searchers.

Sadly we have found no sign of Darren.

– Steve Owers, Teessdale & Weardale Deputy Team Leader
Darren Lawler, 31, went missing from his home in Ferryhill on June 11 Credit: Durham Police

Darts player was "a true gentleman of the sport"

The British Darts Organisation has paid its own tribute to the 57-year-old darts player Phill Nixon, known as the Ferryhill Flyer, who has died.

"R.I.P Phill Nixon, a true gentleman of our sport has sadly lost his battle against the big C. The Ferryhill Flyer, as he was known to his friends, took his illness in the same way that he did his darts: he fought till the very end. "

– Tribute on British Darts Organisation website

Tributes to darts player known as the Ferryhill Flyer

Tributes are being paid to the North East darts star Phill Nixon, who has lost his fight against cancer.

Phill Nixon at the height of his professional career in 2007 Credit: Rebecca Naden/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Known as the "Ferryhill Flyer", he shot to fame in 2007. As an outsider, the player from Ferryhill in County Durham, reached the British Darts Organisation's (BDO) World Darts Championship Final and narrowly missed out to Martin Adams.

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