A major water company has admitted unauthorised discharges of sewage into a stream.

Effluent came out of a manhole and into Coundon Burn, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, on March 13-14 2017.

Northumbrian Water’s defence barrister appeared at Newcastle Crown Court by videolink to admit two breaches of environmental legislation, namely that it caused an unauthorised water discharge activity.

Judge Sarah Mallett said the firm will be sentenced on January 6.

The hearing was listed to take three hours while the prosecution, brought by the Environment Agency, and the defence discussed culpability.

Both parties agreed the harm caused was “category three”, the court heard.

No more details about the breaches were given in court.

Northumbrian Water serves 2.7 million people in the North East of England.