Stockton Council is dispelling an urban myth after a bizarre spate of people throwing shoes or trainers, tied together at the laces, over telephone cables.

This has led to a belief that it is a symbol a drug dealer is operating in the area, with the shoes acting as an ‘advert’ to his customers.

Councillor Steve Nelson, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Community Safety, said: “We’d like to put people’s minds at ease about this. We do not believe that a pair of shoes over a telephone cable is a sign a drug dealer lives nearby – it’s more likely to be a sign that some idiot has thrown their shoes away!”

“This type of activity makes an area look scruffy and that in turn can generate other types of criminal and anti-social behaviour such as fly tipping, graffiti and damage to property.

"We want to encourage our residents to take pride in where they live and we’re asking them to report such incident so we can get them cleared up quickly and ideally make sure who ever commits this type of vandalism is caught.”