ARMED police surrounded a house for more than five hours amid fears a man was inside with a gun.
The alarm was raised at about 10.30am at the semi-detached property in Finchale Avenue, yards from Frankland Prison in Brasside, Durham City.
Officers were stood down at around 3.30pm after it emerged there was no one in the house.
Search teams, including a sniffer dog, remained at the house.
A car with a smashed nearside window was recovered from the driveway.
Police say the incident began with a domestic dispute.
“We had cause for concern following a domestic incident which resulted in us deploying armed officers to search a property on Finchale Avenue, Brasside, County Durham,” said Supt Andy Huddleston, of Durham Constabulary
“This was a protracted incident due to the difficult nature of the property.
“As a result of a search, no one was found at the address.
“Armed officers have now been stood down.
“However, other officers will remain at the scene to carry out further searches at the premises.
“We would like to thank local residents in the area for their patience and understanding during this operation.”