INVESTIGATORS looking into how a pensioner died after a savage attack by a police dog have assured her family that they will conduct a “thorough investigation”.

Irene Collins died days after she was bitten by a Cleveland Police dog in her home on Penrith Road, in Park End, Middlesbrough.

The 73-year-old had allowed police to search her garden for a suspect as part of a drugs operation before she was bitten.

Now the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has confirmed that it is investigating the circumstances of how Ms Collins was injured.

IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said: “This is a tragic death, and my thoughts are with Irene’s family and friends during what must be a devastating time.

"Our family liaison managers have met with her family to explain our role and the details of our independent investigation.

“I would like to assure them we will be conducting a thorough investigation into Cleveland Police and the police dog’s contact with Irene and will be examining any relevant force guidelines and policies in order to get a full understanding of how this terrible incident occurred.”

The pensioner suffered leg and arm injuries in the attack on Wednesday, July 16.

She was taken to Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital but died on Sunday, July 20.

The dog has been withdrawn from duty and its handler has been offered support by the force.