Panorama exposé leads to ten arrests

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Ten people have been arrested in connection with alleged abuse of patients at Whorlton Hall – a specialist 17-bed unit for people with learning disabilities and complex needs.

A criminal investigation was launched after BBC1’s Panorama programme on Wednesday (22 May), which included allegations of physical and psychological abuse of patients at the hospital near Barnard Castle in County Durham.

Arrests were carried out by Durham Constabulary this morning (Friday 24 May), with uniformed officers working alongside investigators from the major crime team.

Those arrested, seven men and three women, are members of staff who worked at the unit and are being questioned about offences relating to abuse and neglect.

A Durham Constabulary spokesman said: ‘As this is an ongoing inquiry, we are unable to comment further at this time, other than to repeat that our immediate priority has been to work with other agencies to safeguard the victims at the centre of the allegations and their families.

‘The investigation is at an early stage and is expected to take some time to complete.’

Following the BBC broadcast, Cygnet Healthcare, which operates the hospital, said it was ‘shocked and deeply saddened by the allegations’.