A priest has admitted stealing tens of thousands of pounds donated to his church in County Durham
Durham Police Ranked 'Best Performing' In The Country
A watchdog says Durham Constabulary are the best performing police force in England and Wales
It's the third year in a row they've received the accolade.
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary's (HMIC) assessed each of the 43 forces in England and Wales to see how effective they were at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
It is understood Durham is the only one to receive an overall grade of 'outstanding'.
In the individual areas assessed, the force was deemed 'outstanding' at preventing crime and anti-social behavior and keeping people safe.
It also was graded 'outstanding' at tackling serious and organised crime.
Meanwhile, the force was deemed to be 'good' at investigating crime and reducing re-offending and 'good' at protecting the vulnerable.
The report says: "Overall the effectiveness of Durham Constabulary is judged to be outstanding.
"In arriving at this view HMIC has taken account of how the constabulary treats, identifies and supports vulnerable victims, investigates crime - especially serious and organised crime - and engages with its communities.
"Durham Constabulary goes to great lengths to identify and mitigate the principal threats to its communities.
"It has equipped officers well to work with partners to promote resolutions that protect communities and victims.
"It has a very strong culture of problem-solving, routinely sharing knowledge of best practice in preventing crime and anti-social behaviour."
Chief Constable Mike Barton said: "To achieve these results is remarkable and I hope everyone who works or volunteers for Durham Constabulary takes pride in knowing they are the best in the country.
"Many other police forces have come to Durham to try and work out what we're doing differently and they're always struck by the attitude and ability of our employees.
"We've some fantastic people who every day are professional and dedicated, but more than that, they are positive and courageous.
"That means we are in a fantastic position to keep on improving to provide the best possible service for the people of County Durham and Darlington."
Ron Hogg, Durham's Police and Crime Commissioner said: "This is the third year in a row that Durham Constabulary has been the best force in the country. I would like to congratulate all members of Durham Constabulary on these tremendous results.
"I think the people of County Durham and Darlington can be confident that they are being served by the best police force in the country - a really impressive outcome at a time of reducing police resources.
"I will continue to hold the Force to account to make sure that everything possible is being done to maintain this excellent standard of performance."
Police investigating the murder of a man in Whitley Bay are continuing to question one man
A 6ft 6ins car dealer has avoided jail, after he was accused of driving, while stood up across the Tyne Bridge
Police say the burned body of a three-year-old Shih Tzu called Charlie, was found in Walker in Wednesday
Most Viewed Pictures On Heart
Recently Played Tracks
To listen live, choose your preferred station:
Now playing: Non-stop hit music
Now playing: Non-stop hit music
Deposit £10 to get a £40 Welcome Bonus - That's £50 to play bingo, slots and more!*
Over 50 tracks to make you feel-good. New album out now...
Find your local four day weather report here.
Make Heart the soundtrack to your day and you could be a winner with great prizes up for grabs throughout the day.