A PROLIFIC thief has been convicted of stealing from unlocked cars - after being caught red handed thanks to vigilance of an eagle-eyed resident.

Police received a call reporting that a man was acting suspiciously on Wynbury Road in Low Fell, Gateshead, at about 4.30am on Friday.

The caller reported a man he did not know had been trying a number of car doors on the street in a bid to commit a theft.

He stayed on the phone and described how the man was sitting inside a neighbour's car and rifling through its contents.

Officers were immediately dispatched to the scene where they caught the thief red-1handed.

Gordon Simpson, 42, was found inside the vehicle and was also carrying a carrier bag full of stolen goods.

He was arrested and later charged with two counts of theft from motor vehicles.

Simpson, of Newbold Court, Gateshead, appeared before Newcastle Magistrates Court on Saturday where he admitted the charges against him.

He was released on bail and will now be sentenced by magistrates at his next appearance at court on June 19.

Neighbourhood Inspector Mick Robson has now praised the vigilance of the resident who reported the incident to police.

He said: "Gordon Simpson is a prolific thief who has numerous convictions to his name and will take any opportunity to steal from other people.

"He is a person who has no regard for the impact his offending will have on his victims and despite his warnings he continues to live a life of crime. I want to take this opportunity to thank the resident who contacted police."