Tyne & Wear

Boy, 9, found hiding under bed after three-hour search

Josh Dinning Image copyright Glen Minikin
Image caption Josh Dinning was found hiding in a compartment under his bed

A nine-year-old boy who sparked a police search when his mother awoke to find him missing was discovered hiding under his bed.

Officers mounted a river search and scrambled a helicopter in a bid to find Josh Dinning, from Gateshead, who had not been seen since Monday night.

Police were called at 09:15 BST and an initial search found nothing.

He was discovered three hours later in a drawer under his bed. He said he had not wanted to go to school.

Image copyright Glen Minikin
Image caption The schoolboy was able to climb inside the bed and slide the door over to hide

A Northumbria Police spokesman said the force was reviewing the search to find out why the "hidden compartment" had not been checked.

His mother, Michelle Dinning, a widow and mother of eight, said she had hoped Josh was already at school when she could not find him.

But then the school rang to say he had not arrived, so she called the police.

"At that stage it all got very real and I was panicking, thinking the worst could have happened," she said.

Image copyright Glen Minikin
Image caption Josh said he stayed quiet because he knew he would be "bawled at" if found

Word of Josh's disappearance spread and dozens of neighbours joined the search, handing out pictures of him which had been printed off by a library.

Ms Dinning said: "I suggested one more look around the house - this time the police lifted the beds.

"I bent down and saw the green of Josh's school shirt and burst into tears."

Josh said: "I could hear people looking for me and I thought I had better stay quiet because when they found me I would get shouted and bawled at so I just stayed where I was."

His brother Scott, 20, said: "It's hard to believe that while all this was going on he was just curled up under his bed."

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