A GROUP of friends made a shocking discovery after human remains were found on an East Durham beach.
Teenagers playing on sand dunes stumbled across the bones near Crimdon Dene.
Investigations have now revealed the pals have uncovered an ancient burial.
Detectives from Peterlee CID were initially called in to inspect the grisly Saturday afternoon find, due to the discovery being close to the County Durham border, but it was then established that the area was within the Cleveland force’s remit.
Experts from Tees Archaeology, now believe the bones are the body of one person lying on their side, in a grave dating back several thousand years.
Archaeologist Rachel Grahame said “The crouched position of the body and the lack of grave goods strongly suggest that this is a prehistoric burial.
“The location of the burial in the cliff, covered by many metres of sand, suggests that the burial took place in the distant past, perhaps several thousand years ago.”
Police are now warning curious onlookers to stay away from the site.
Detective Sergeant Jim Allen of Hartlepool CID added: “The police investigation is standing down but our main concern is safety of people working with this find, and of the public and to that end I would advise members of the public to stay away.
“It is an unstable environment with recent landslips and the last thing we want is for anyone to get hurt.
“People should still be able to enjoy the beach area but I would urge people not to try to climb the dunes or cliff face.”