UNDERCOVER police officers will infiltrate the crowd looking for thieves when chart-toppers One Direction visit the region this week.

Covert police surveillance will be carried out to prevent young fans becoming victims of crime when more than 50,000 people attend the group's Wearside gig on Wednesday.

The boy band will kick off their tour at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, but the Northumbria force has warned big crowds could attract opportunist thieves and pickpockets.

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Concert-goers are being urged to protect their valuables, such as phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and wallets, which could be snatched.

Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth said: “People will be using cameras and mobile phones to take pictures throughout the event and it's really important that they do everything they can to protect them.

"The last thing anyone wants is to have taken pictures, or videos, only to find that they have had their phone stolen and the pictures are lost forever.

“Use common sense, don’t advertise your property to thieves and look after your valuables.”

Uniformed officers and club security officials will be inside and outside the ground should anyone need them. There will also be a number of undercover officers in the crowd on the look out for thieves.

Approach roads to the stadium will be closed and there is no parking or access available at the stadium itself, or in the surrounding residential areas.

Those attending the concerts, or collecting young people after the show, should use the city centre car parks, which are a short walk from the stadium.

An official rendezvous point is being set up in the Sheepfolds Industrial Estate, near St Peter’s Metro station.

Paul Weir, SAFC’s head of safety and security, said: “With a show of this nature we will be welcoming large numbers of young people to the stadium, which is a different dynamic from previous shows we have hosted.

“We would advise those attending the show to carefully plan their journey to and from the stadium, taking into account the traffic restrictions in and around the areas and to arrive early where possible as queues are expected.”

Organisers have announced there will be a colour-coded entry system to make it easier for fans to get in.

The stadium will be divided into four coloured zones, red, blue, green and yellow, which are highlighted at the bottom of tickets for fans in the tier one and two as well as the standing areas.

Corresponding entry points around the stadium will be signposted on the day of the show.

Fans with tickets for the tier three seated area will enter through an allocated numbered turnstile.

Wheelchair user should enter though gate 62A, in the South Stand of the stadium.

External courtyard areas will open at 2.30pm on the day, with the main stadium gates open from 5pm.

Once fans are in the stadium they will not be permitted to re-enter if they leave.

One Direction’s support act, 5 Seconds of Summer, are set to take to the stage at 6.50pm, with the main act due on at about 8.15pm.