Five arrested over man found beaten to death in North Shields

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Five people - including four teenagers - have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a vulnerable man who was beaten to death in his own home.

The men, aged 19, 20, 18, 18 and 16, were held by detectives investigating the death of Andrew Smart, 47, who was found dead in his home in North Shields, North Tyneside, last month.



Police said Mr Smart, who had been regularly targeted by gangs of youths, had been repeatedly attacked.



The former self-employed software engineer was found dead at 6.30pm on February 28 at his home in Sibthorpe Street.



Detectives said Mr Smart had turned to drink and after his marriage ended he moved to the North Tyneside area - away from his wife and two children.



Police had earlier appealed for information from the public to help piece together Mr Smart's last movements.



He was last seen alive walking alone around 10.30pm on February 25.



Police said he was seen to have facial injuries which could have been days old, including bruising, on the night.



A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: "Four local men, two aged 18 years and the others aged 19, and 20, and one local male youth aged 16, have been arrested on suspicion of murder and are currently helping police with their inquiries at a police station in Newcastle.



"Previously, three male youths aged 13, 14 and 15 years, were arrested in connection with this investigation and bailed pending further inquiries."