Houghton Le Spring and Shiney Row were struck by a rampage of criminal damage on Christmas Day that is believed by police to be “retaliatory”.

The spree involved individuals smashing scores of car and house windows in Shiney Row and Houghton-le-Spring, prompting an investigation.

Incidents at least five addresses were reported to police between 8.30pm and 10.30pm. It is believed the attacks were gang related between two groups.

The attacks happened on Leyburn Grove, Harwood Drive, Brinkburn Crescent and Beech Avenue in Houghton-le-Spring, and on Ross Lea in Shiney Row.

Detective Sergeant Alan Whittle, of Northumbria Police, said: “The level of violence seen as part of this retaliatory dispute was totally unacceptable.

“On each occasion, offenders were seen smashing the windows of cars and homes in full view of innocent families who were celebrating Christmas Day and enjoying the festivities.

This will not be tolerated and a full investigation is ongoing into each incident. Anyone found to have been involved can expect to be dealt with swiftly and robustly, and we will use every tactic at our disposal in order to bring effective justice.

“We believe all parties involved are known to each other and there is no wider threat to the public. However, we have increased patrols across the area and are following various lines of enquiry to prevent this from escalating any further.

“If anyone has any information about the respective incidents, including CCTV footage of vehicles or people acting suspiciously between those times, please come forward and report it.”

At about 8.35pm on Christmas Day, a group of males got out of a dark-coloured vehicle – believed to be a black VW Passat – and smashed the front windows of an address on Ross Lea in Shiney Row.

The second incident was reported at 10.05pm after a group of offenders damaged a green-coloured car outside an address on Leyburn Grove in Houghton-le-Spring.

Four minutes later, the windows of a car and a house were smashed on Harwood Grove, before a similar incident unfolded on Brinkburn Crescent at 10.15pm when three men attacked a vehicle and a property.

At 10.21pm, three men attended a home on Beech Avenue and caused damage to the windows of the address before making off.

Detective Sergeant Whittle added: “Your information, no matter how insignificant you feel it may be, could prove the key to our investigation. If you know anything, or believe you know those who were involved, please get in touch.”

By SGM

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