VANDALS are being blamed for a power cut to 13,000 homes and businesses.

Police are investigating after the incident, which affected properties in the Chester-le-Street, Birtley and Washington areas of County Durham, Gateshead and Wearside at about 2pm today (Thursday, April 30).

It is believed overhead cables in Birtley were damaged.

Northern Powergrid was working to restore power to all those affected by the end of today.