TRIBUTES have been paid to the owner of an award-winning North-East bar and restaurant.

Peter Turnbull ran the Old Yard Tapas Bar in Bondgate, Darlington.

His body was found inside the premises this morning, when staff went to open up for the day.

Police were called to the scene at about 9am and investigations quickly established Mr Turnbull's death was not suspicious.

His wife, Katrina, was being comforted by family and friends.

The Tapas Bar, pictured above, has been a popular venue in Darlington for almost 20 years and has won numerous awards Neill Brien, who runs a locksmith's shop in Bondgate, was a long-time associate of Mr Turnbull.

He said: "I knew Peter reasonably well and had done for a long time.

"He was always as a happy-go-lucky type of fella.

"He was a grafter, he was somebody who liked to get involved and get things done.

"When we would go in the Tapas Bar, he would always makes us feel welcome and that nothing was too much trouble.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

"A lot of people in the business community will have known Peter, he was a good host and it's such a shame.

"He was a nice man and a nice man to deal with in a business sense.

"He had been in business for a lot of years and you could not meet a nicer guy."

Mr Brien, who has been in business for almost 40 years and knew Mr Turnbull for about 25 years, added: "Peter would put himself out for you."

A notice in the window of the Tapas Bar read: "Due to unforeseen circumstances we will be closed for the rest of today."