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Police hunt for teenage runaway

POLICE were searching a housing estate in Newcastle upon Tyne last night for a teenage runaway, known locally as 'Rat Boy', writes Rhys Williams.

The 14-year-old boy escaped from local authority care last Saturday, two hours after being arrested in connection with a number of burglaries.

Police believe he may be hiding with friends on the Byker Wall housing estate in the east of the city.

Chief Inspector John Graham of Newcastle police said officers were combing the Byker Wall estate, where the boy's family lives.

The alleged offences were committed at the end of August while he was on home leave from an open unit in Essex.

He was arrested and taken back to Essex, but escaped almost immediately.

The Essex children's unit refused to take him back and he was returned to council care in Newcastle, but promptly absconded from a children's home in Blaydon, Tyne and Wear.