A pet dog has been hailed a hero for finding an elderly woman who had been missing for 14 hours.
Up to 20 police officers and a helicopter were searching for the woman but it was Patterdale terrier Flash who found her next to a hedge.
The ten-month-old dog joined the search party near his home in Barmpton, Darlington, of his own volition.
Flash’s owners said their pet is an “outside dog” and they only found out about the rescue the next day.
Owner Elijah Ward, 13, said he was “so proud” of his pet.
His father Elijah added: “We have a smallholding and he often wanders by himself but we noticed he went missing on the night and returned the next morning.
“We only realised what he’d done after speaking to neighbours and police.
“Now we wonder if he stayed with her all night.
“We went straight out and bought him lots of treats.
“He’s a little hero really.”
The daughter of the missing woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said they were grateful to everyone involved.
Sgt Barry Evans, from Durham Police, said: “As officers worked down the field and the helicopter was overhead, a dog belonging to a local resident had accompanied officers as they searched the fields.
“Flash went and laid down near a hedgerow. He appeared to be indicating at something.
“This led a family member of the missing person to discover the woman, found apparently unhurt from the overnight exposure although a little distressed.”
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