A reported sighting of one of the world’s most wanted terrorists Samantha Lewthwaite was a false alarm, police have said.
It had been reported that the jihadist had been spotted on Boxing Day checking in at a hotel in Darlington owned by Dragon’s Den entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne.
A member of the public alerted Durham Police to the possible sighting. However, a police spokesperson has confirmed that after investigating the tip-off they no longer believe that Lewthwaite was there.
A force spokesperson said: “Following the reported sighting on 26 December 2015 at Darlington of Samantha Lewthwaite, inquiries have been conducted and police are satisfied that the person reported is not Samantha Lewthwaite.
Originally from Northern Ireland, the mother of four converted to Islam as a teenager and is thought to have fled the UK for Africa before joining militant group al-Shabaab following the 2005 attacks in London.
She is the subject of a Red Notice by Interpol, who issued the international arrest warrant at the request of Kenyan authorities.
With additional reporting by Press Association