heli1MINI police gained the lift of a lifetime when the force’s helicopter dropped in for a visit.

Heathfield Academy in Darlington welcomed the National Police Air Service chopper, based at Teesside Airport, as a reward for their efforts with the mini police.

Heathfield pupils were among the first in the borough to join the mini police, an initiative that boosts the positive community work carried out by the constabulary.

Pilot Phil Houghton and tactical flight officers Peter Hiser and Rob Rochester gave mini police a thorough tour of their twin-engine Eurocopter.

They saw first had the hi-tech cameras and thermal imaging equipment that helps the police track criminals and find missing people.

“We provide the police with a view from above with anything from vehicle pursuits to missing persons,” said Officer Rochester.

On the ground they were supported by dog handler PC Graham Kell, traffic officer Dave Morgan and PCSO Claire Kerr, who explained their work and showed off the police dogs.

Assistant head teacher Sue Wilson said: “The whole school turned out for the landing of the helicopter in our grounds, which was so exciting.

“The mini police take their responsibilities very seriously and looked very smart in their police caps. The visit was greatly appreciated and a worthy reward for all their efforts so far.”