A STOLEN lorry used that was deliberately rammed into a Darlington house has been towed away from the scene.

Crowds gathered outside the house in Lynton Gardens to watch the delicate operation.

Terrorised neighbours last night said they fear someone will be seriously hurt or killed unless police catch those responsible for two ram-raid attacks in the town.

A stolen lorry was deliberately reversed into the front of a house in Lynton Gardens – six days after a stolen horse box rammed into a bungalow on the outskirts of the town.

Both homes suffered extensive damage.

Police say the incidents, which come a month after five men petrol bombed a third house, could be related.

A Durham Constabulary spokeswoman said: “We are aware of concern in the community regarding incidents like this will inevitably cause.

"We can reassure the public that dedicated resources are following a number of significant lines of enquiry to identify those people involved and whether or not they are linked.

"These incidents are rare in nature and we believe, at this stage, they are targeted attacks with no wider risk to the public."

The blue Iveco recovery truck which was fitted with an hydraulic arm smashed into the empty semi-detached house, just off Yarm Road, at around 8.30pm on Wednesday night. It had reveresed across the garden before demolishing the front bay window and part of the wall. 

The house is thought to be home to a family of six, who were not in at the time.

One resident said: "There have been previous attacks on the same street. It is quite scary to live around here when this kind of thing is happening."

Police maintained a constant presence throughout the night and set up a cordon this morning.

But residents in the area have been left shocked and concerned at what could happen in the future.

One person who lived in nearby Geneva Road, said: "It's a bit creepy but how do you know what's going on really. It's absolutely horrendous. I can't believe someone's done that.

"Can you imagine being in bed and that happens?"

Samantha Dixon, Eastbourne’s Neighbourhood Watch coordinator, said she had previously been contacted by CID to advise that the same house had been targeted by a mechanical digger in recent months.

"Something’s going to happen and it’s not going to be nice," she added. “Then a house was burnt and just last week a horse box was driven into a house, injuring a girl. That’s three properties that have been damaged.

“Someone in this street is going to get seriously injured.”

The truck, stolen from a compound in Shotton Colliery, County Durham, was tonight still lodged inside the front of the house after a structural engineer warned it was unsafe to be moved until a safety assessment could be carried out.

Mrs Dixon added: "There’s going to be a fatality if nothing is done. This is a really nice area and it just makes you wonder what they’re going to do next.

“It’s disgraceful – they’ve just destroyed the house and they need to start acting like adults.”

A family living near the targeted house said many neighbours had called the police, fearing their homes might be the next to be attacked.

One woman, who asked not to be named, said: "It was awful, just awful. We all just shook and we were all stood outside and the neighbours were in bits – it's horrible and scary and it's about time it was sorted.

“We even came away from the window so that they (the people inside the truck) didn't come into our house.

“It makes you feel sick and thank god the kids weren't in there.”

"What frightened me was that all the lights were on in the house and I was thinking was somebody in there.

"It's horrible and scary and it's about time it was sorted.

"There's just no need."

The incident comes just days after a teenage girl escaped with cuts and bruises when a stolen horse box was deliberately driven into a bungalow between Harrowgate Hill and Coatham Mundeville on the outskirts of the town.

The family of four were asleep when the horsebox hit the front of the detatched house at 12.30am on Thursday, November 12. They used panic alarms to alert police. 

The 17-year-old girl was later released from hospital without any serious injuries. No-one else was hurt but her father, who did not want to be named, said: "It's not just an accident. We were all asleep and we were obviously in."

The Northern Echo:

A stolen horsebox was deliberately crashed into this family home between Harrowgate Hill and Coatham Mundeville last week.

In October a gang of five men armed with baseball bats threw petrol bombs into a semi-detatched house on the corner of The Mead and Yarm Road, less than a quarter of a mile from Lynton Gardens. The family were away on holiday at the time.

Police have urged anyone with information or who can identify those responsible to call 101.