The acting Chief Constable of Northumbria police, Sue Simm, has anounced in the last hour that she has called off the search for Raoul Moat. Speaking to a hastily convened press conference she said "I have decided that enough is enough, we are no closer to finding Mr Moat than we were 6 days ago. I believe Mr Moat should now be declared the winner of the Northumbria Annual hide and seek contest."
Police are now travelling the area in patrol cars announcing "Olly olly oxen free" over their PA systems.
Commenting on why the police had put up such a bad show in this years contest she said "We got off to a bad start, the rules state that we had to turn our backs and count to 1000 while Mr Moat went to hide. It was only when we had counted to 158 that we realised that there was nobody in our force who cold count to 1000. It then took us 2 days to locate an officer with the requisite skills and arrange his secondment from a southern force."
Asked to comment on allegations made by Mr. Moat that the Northumbria force had cheated by bringing in thousands of officers from other forces as well as the army, she said "I find Mr Moat's allegations of cheating to be very offensive. I think that it is Mr. Moat who is the cheat. You should remember that he didn't just hide and wait for us to find him. On the contrary he kept changing hiding places which isn't against the rules, as such, but shows a less than sporting attitude."
After the press conference the senior officers of the Northumbria force were challenged by your correspondent to find their own arses with both hands for a reward of £20. Ms. Simm came closest but only managed to locate one buttock before breaking down in tears when a passer by commented that her arse looked big in her uniform.