Northumbria Police has offered its condolences to relatives of a 43-year-old man who died in police custody today.
The man, who has not been named, was arrested on warrant on Thursday at his home in Houghton.
He was taken into custody after failing to appear at Gateshead Magistrates' Court on Tuesday for possessing an offensive weapon, and was seen by police doctors during his time in custody, the force said.
Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth said:
We offer our sincere condolences to this man's family and friends at what is clearly a difficult time for them.
Any death in police custody irrespective of the circumstances must be immediately referred to the IPCC and we are working with them to fully assist with their investigation.
Deaths in police custody are fortunately relatively uncommon and there were no custody deaths in the Northumbria Police area last year.