FIVE men were arrested by police investigating a spate of scrap metal thefts in the region.

Three men were arrested on Tuesday, January 28 and two the following day.

One was subsequently charged with theft, three were released under investigation and one was released with no further action to be taken against him.

Two vans were also seized by officers during the operation, in the Weardale area, which followed a number of reports of unlawful taking of metal.

A spokesperson for Barnard Castle police urged people to be vigilant, to ensure property is kept securely and to report anything suspicious to Durham Constabulary on 101.