Police have launched a murder investigation after a man's body was found in West Rainton.
The body was discovered by a dog walker at around 7pm on Sunday on Marks Lane near the railway bridge.
A post mortem is being carried out and the area remains cordoned off.
Investigators say they do not believe it was a random attack and there is no need for the public to be alarmed.
Anyone with information is asked to call the police on the 101 number.
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