The body of a teenage boy has been found following a major search operation in the River Wear, police have said.

Official identification is yet to take place but the boy is believed to be a 13-year-old who had been reported missing.

Specialists from Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue joined police, fire officers and the police helicopter in the search near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, on Sunday night.

A Durham Police spokeswoman said: ‘Sadly, the body of a teenager was found in the river this morning.

‘Formal identification has yet to take place, but it is believed to be the body of a 13-year-old boy.

‘His family have been informed and our thoughts are with them at this tragic time.’

The spokeswoman said the boy’s death was not being treated as suspicious and a file will be prepared for the coroner.

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Police had earlier urged members of the public to stay away from the area for their own safety amid treacherous weather.

Before the body was found, the force tweeted: ‘We are aware of a number of people who are planning to go to the Bishop Auckland area this morning to assist in the search.

‘Conditions near the river are particularly hazardous and we would request people stay away from the area for their own safety.’