Arrest made after bungled diesel raid in County Durham

Police have arrested a 21-year-old local man in connection with a diesel theft in County Durham, following which, farmer’s wife Rosemary Dove died.

The man was arrested on Tuesday afternoon (24 June) and is currently being held at Bishop Auckland police station for questioning. The suspect, a passenger in a car that was stopped at Coundon, was arrested on suspicion of assault, theft and theft of a motor vehicle.

Mrs Dove of East House Farm, Bishop Middleham, County Durham, was returning home from the Royal Highland Show with her husband Frank when they spotted a man who they believed was trying to steal fuel from a pump at the side of the farm buildings.

Mrs Dove, who was 68, ran to the farm house to dial 999 while Mr Dove and his son Michael drove after the thief.  Mrs Dove later collapsed and died. 

Michael Dove sustained injuries after he was run down by the getaway vehicle. Having caught up with the thief and cornered his truck in a field, Michael tried to apprehend him. But he was hit by the vehicle and flung into a ditch.

He was taken to North Tees General Hospital with a double fracture to his hip and a minor head injury.

The thief escaped by crashing through wooden gates and fencing. The vehicle believed to have been involved in the incident was later found burned out. Examination by crime scene investigators has confirmed the vehicle was stolen from Coundon Industrial Estate at about 1pm last Friday (June 20).

County Durham Police has appealed for witnesses.