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Search scaled down as police await identification of body

A spokesman for Durham Police said Ian's family had been informed of the discovery. He said:

Arrangements are being made for formal identification to take place and the coroner has been informed. An inquest will be held in due course.

The search is now in the process of being scaled down as Durham Constabulary has no other reports of missing persons at this time.

Durham Constabulary would like to thank all those involved in the search for their help and their support

Body found in River Wear

Teams, searching for the missing eight year old Ian Bell, have discovered a body. Ian slipped into the River Wear a week ago on Friday, while playing with friends. A huge search has taken place since then involving the emergency services and local people.

Police say a body has been found at Page Bank Bridge near Willington, close to where Ian disappeared. Formal identification has yet to take place.

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Search continues for missing eight-year-old

Ian Bell Credit: Durham Police

The search continues for missing Ian Bell but police say it is unlikely he remains alive.

Ian, eight, from Sunnybrow, County Durham, went missing last weekend after falling into the River Wear at Willington.

Since then Police, the Fire Service, Weardale Search and Rescue as well as hundreds of volunteers have been searching the river for him.

But there has been no sign.

Chief Inspector Graham Milne, leading the search, said: "We are still doing everything we can to find Ian but sadly there doesn't seem any likelihood that we will find him alive.

"All we want now is to bring him home to his family."

A spokesman for Durham Police said officers had contacted an expert in rivers and flowing waters as well as specially trained police dogs from South Yorkshire to help them with the search.

Mother still hopes son will be found

Ian Bell has been missing since falling into the River Wear almost a week ago.
Ian Bell has been missing since falling into the River Wear almost a week ago. Credit: Durham Police

The mother of a boy who has been missing for almost a week after falling into the River Wear has spoken for the first time since the incident.

Ian Bell, 8, from Sunnybrow went missing last Friday. His mother, Claire Bell, says she still hopes he will be found.

"We still have hope in our hearts that Ian will be found soon and just want to find him and bring him home.

"I have always made sure he was aware of the dangers when playing nearby to the river. We are all devastated that we may never find Ian, but we will always have hope and will continue to search for him.

"Our friends and neighbours have been fantastic over the last few days and we would like to thank everyone involved in the search for their help, it means such a lot to the family during this extremely difficult time that we have the support of our tight knit community."

Yesterday the search for the little boy was scaled down by authorities, but the search by the local community is ongoing.

Hundreds of community volunteers have been searching into the night to find the eight-year-old and have rallied around the family to offer comfort.

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