A group of teenagers were caught getting up to something fishy by one of the region's top cops on Friday.
But far from finding themselves on the wrong side of the law, the boys had been invited for a day of fishing off the North Sea coast by neighbourhood wardens and Durham police officers, including Chief Constable Mike Barton.
Usually, the force’s Somet Fishy scheme targets young people at risk of getting into trouble and diverts them into a positive activity.
But last week, pupils from St John’s School in Bishop Auckland were invited to join in as a reward for the good work they have been doing in the local community.
Mr Barton joined the group at Seaham to see for himself the benefits of the scheme.
He said: “It is a great idea, to get the sorts of kids who would be on streets with nothing to do, maybe bothering neighbours, out fishing.
PC Kevin Woodcock, who set up Somet Fishy, said: “There is nothing worse than moving kids on who say they have nothing to do so we introduce them to fishing".
“It can give them a purpose and hopefully steers them away from the judicial system, I’d rather they got to know police officers socially than professionally.”
Durham County Council neighbourhood warden Lyndsey Cartwright, who supports the scheme, added: “The kids we work with engage better now, they are more likely to provide information or do as we ask.
“I deal with anti-social behaviour and environmental crimes such as littering and explaining the impact of litter on wildlife, while they’re outside doing something like fishing, gets the message home and encourages them to be responsible.”
Initially working with youngsters in the Seaham area, the scheme is being extended to other parts of County Durham.
The boys taking part today are pupils at St John’s School and were rewarded for their work on Haggrid, a joint initiative by Durham police and Durham Agency Against Crime to promote personal development and learning through horticultural, environmental and community skills.
Barney Jardine, 15, got a flounder for the first catch of the day followed by Ryan Graydon, 15, who landed a cod.
Barney said: “Working on Haggrid cleaning up the community, going round places to help out brings more light to the community and I am proud of that.
“I’ve fished on rivers before but hadn’t done sea fishing, it was a great opportunity.
“It made me see cops in a different way, they are all normal people and I’d expect the chief constable to be all formal but he was good to talk to.