A phone call about suspected human remains sparked a large-scale police response – only for the human limb to be identified as a potato.
On Tuesday afternoon police received a report from a dog walker that they had spotted a suspected human toe buried in mud in a field in Winlaton.
They had since returned home but had taken a picture of the suspected remains and sent it to police.
The image did show what appeared to be a human foot and so a search of the field was conducted, involving response officers and specialist police dogs.
Eventually officers tracked down the ‘scene’ only to discover the toe was in fact a potato with a mushroom growing next to it.
Neighbourhood Inspector Phil Hamlani, of Northumbria Police, said the call was made in good faith and encouraged others to report suspicious activity.
He said: “The person who called this in was very concerned and in the picture she sent to us the object did look like it could be human remains.
“It was already dark by the time we got a call and so we had to deploy search teams to track down the scene to rule out any foul play.
“The search team did have a chuckle when they realised it was a potato but the call was made in good faith and we can only praise the vigilance of the woman who made the call.
“If anyone does come across suspected human remains please do the same and give us a call. If it does turn out to be a vegetable, our police dogs will thank you for the treat!”
If you want to report something suspicious then call 101 or report it online at the ‘Tell Us Something’ pages of the Northumbria Police website.