From The Northern Echo June 21, 1991 - written by David Taylor

BOMB squad experts remained on stand-by last night amid fears that a bungalow where a council official was shot dead could be booby-trapped with explosives.

The official was shot at point blank range and two more people taken to hospital with gunshot wounds as a planning dispute ended in tragedy.

An army bomb squad arrived from Catterick hours after Derwentside District Council chief planner Harry Collinson was killed trying to settle the wrangle.

And last night Royal Engineers were being flown from Kent to comb the site after the police heard claims that the bungalow had been wired with explosives.

The drama happened as planning officers from Derwentside Council tried to demolish a bungalow built without permission on farmland near Consett.

The council's chief planner, Harry Collinson, died when he was shot in the chest and then twice more in the head after he slumped into a ditch.

PC Stephen Campbell, 22, was shot in the thigh and BBC television reporter Tony Belmont was hit in the arm by another bullet.

Two journalists from The Northern , reporter Mark Summers and photographer Michael Peckett, were standing only yards away when the shooting happened.

Journalists, who were at the field in Eliza Lane, Butsfield, to witness the demolition of the controversial bungalow, ran for their lives as pistol shots rang out.

Council officials had hoped to end the threeyear dispute with former steelworker Albert Dryden by bulldozing his unfinished summer house but the shooting started as they tried to move in.

Mark Summers said: "The excavator was about to go through the fence and there was an argument taking place right in front of TV cameras.

"Then I saw a gun was being pointed but I thought it was just an extravagant gesture I didn't think it would be fired. I felt disbelief and total fear, I just ran and ran. I've never been so scared in my life." Seconds before he died, Mr Collinson turned to reporters and said: "Can we get a shot of this gun." Moments later he shouted "Oh God!" and groaned as the first shot struck him full in the chest.

According to witnesses, the gunman jumped over a fence and started chasing people and firing, before holing up in a caravan on the site.

Police marksmen surrounded the field and two hours after the shooting they stormed the caravan and arrested the gunman. He was taken away covered by a coat in the back of a police van.

He was taken to Consett police station where officers were still questioning him last night.

Mr Dryden claimed the building was exempt from planning laws because it was built in a large hole.

At Derwentside District Council yesterday afternoon the flags were flying at half-mast.

Council officials revealed yesterday they had been expecting resistance from Mr Dryden but had no idea it would go so tragically wrong.

After the killing, John Graham, a supporter of Mr Dryden, said: "It's terrible, we never thought it would come to this. Albert had had enough, they have been making his life difficult over this for months and months." BBC TV reporter Tony Belmont, who was shot as he ran from the scene, said: "A shot rang out and the chief planner fell to the ground and I felt a shot in the arm and I have been shot." Mr Collinson, the youngest of four brothers, is believed to have been the only one not to have gone into farming.

His mother Margaret of Upper Town, Wolsingham, County Durham, was too upset to comment about the tragedy last night as other members of the family were congregating at her home.