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Boy shot with air rifle in Spennymoor

Police are urging people to be aware of the dangers of air rifles after a 15-year-old boy was shot in the back. He had been out walking with his friend in a nature reserve in Spennymoor, near to the Frog and Ferret pub, on December 28 at around 2.30pm.

“Thankfully the victim’s injuries were not serious; he was left with a small lump and a bruise to his shoulder; however it could have been much worse.

“The victim and his friend had noticed three men who were dressed in camouflage jackets and carrying a black air rifle earlier during their walk. We would like to trace these individuals and are appealing to anyone who can help us to get in touch.

“I’d also like to take this opportunity to remind people who use air rifles that it is their responsibility to ensure it is safe to shoot before pulling the trigger. There is comprehensive guidance about the use of firearms on the Durham Constabulary website and I would advise people to familiarise themselves with this before taking their weapon out.”

– PC Pete Aiston

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101.



78-year-old missing from care home in Co Durham

Robert Porter was reported missing by staff at the Sycamore Lodge Care Home on Briar Close Credit: Durham Constabulary

Police are appealing for the public’s help in finding an elderly man who has gone missing from his supported living home in Spennymoor, County Durham.

78-year-old Robert Porter was reported missing by staff at the Sycamore Lodge Care Home on Briar Close in the town at 1am today (Wednesday, 3rd September).

Robert was last seen at around 6pm yesterday evening by a member of staff. It is believed Robert may have left Briar Close to go to the local workingmen’s club or a local pub as this is something he often did, normally returning around 11pm.

Robert is described as medium build with short grey hair. When he was last seen he was wearing a blue waist length zip up jacket, a blue Hawaiian shirt, black tracksuit / jogging bottoms, and black footwear.

Inspector Sue Murray said “We are concerned for Robert’s safety as it is very much out of character for him not to return home by 11pm after an evening out. Robert relies on medication so it is imperative that we find him as soon as possible. With this in mind I would ask that anyone with any information about Robert’s whereabouts contacts us immediately.”

Police can be contacted on 101.

Spennymoor family criticises "army incompetence" over soldiers' deaths.

Pte Dean Hutchinson's parents, Paul and Elaine, and brother, Liam, issued a statement.

Mrs Hutchinson said on behalf of her family: "Dean was a soldier and we will also be immensely proud of the fact he served his country but we feel that he should never have lost his life in the way he did out there in Afghanistan.

"We are pleased that the coroner's conclusion reflects the Army's incompetence in not carrying out the correct procedures to ensure Dean's safety."

Fighting back tears, Mrs Hutchinson added: "God bless both our boys."

Ministry of Defence criticised over soldiers' tent fire deaths

Private Robert Wood (left) and Private Dean Hutchinson (right). Credit: Ministry of Defence

A coroner has criticised the Ministry of Defence for a series of failures over the deaths of two soldiers, including one from County Durham, in a fire which engulfed their tent as they slept at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan.

Wiltshire and Swindon Coroner David Ridley said he would be making a "preventing further deaths" report over the case of Privates Rob Wood, 28, and Dean Hutchinson, 23, of Spennymoor.

Mr Ridley recorded a narrative conclusion and listed eight areas where there was either a "systemic failure" or "failure" in the circumstances that led to the men's deaths.

The two soldiers, who served with the Royal Logistic Corps, were killed when fire swept through a logistical centre at Camp Bastion in Helmand on February 14 2011.

There were delays in alerting the military fire brigade because soldiers at the scene did not know the emergency 222 number.

Fire investigators have concluded that the blaze started in the vicinity of the electrical appliances and quickly spread, igniting combustible materials stored nearby.

The inquest heard that both senior commanders and fire safety officers did not know the soldiers were sleeping on duty during night shifts.

Had they known, the fire risk assessment for the tent would have had to have reflected it, with separate sleeping areas and an unobstructed rear exit.

The "unwritten rule" for the troop was that the duty non-commissioned officer should have remained awake while the other soldiers slept.

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