POLICE forces in the North-East have reported a sharp increase in the number of vehicles stolen across County Durham and Cleveland year-on-year, data has shown.

Of 17 constabularies analysed, Durham Police and Cleveland Police were among the better fairing forces for the number of vehicle thefts reported in 2018.

However, County Durham and Darlington saw one of the highest growth rates across the country for the number of thefts reported, with 13.1 per cent more vehicle theft statements made to Durham Police in 2018 compared to 2017.

A Freedom of Information request to police forces in England and Wales revealed 33 cars were stolen last year from the ten worst streets for car theft in County Durham and Darlington.

This is, however, far less than in a Staffordshire high street where a car was stolen more than once a week during the same period.

The Northern Echo:

A total of 857 cars were reported as stolen to Durham Police last year, up 13 per cent from 2017. Out of the 17 constabularies analysed, the force recorded the sixth lowest overall number of vehicle thefts, but it saw the eighth highest increase in England and Wales since 2017.

The area covered by Durham Police, with a population of more than 600,000, ranked 12th both years.

The worst street in Darlington reported five thefts in 2018.

With five thefts in 2018, a street in Darlington is the most affected location in the area patrolled by Durham Police. The worst street for car theft in Durham reported four thefts in 2018.

The worst locations in Bishop Auckland, Peterlee, Stanley, Newton Aycliffe and Seaham reported three thefts each.

Durham Police has not disclosed the names of the streets with most car thefts, stating it could ultimate "attract criminals to conduct further criminal activity in that area".

Within the North-East, Ford is the most wanted make of vehicle, account for 171 thefts in 2018.

The Ford Transit is the number one vehicle reported stolen nationally, with the Ford Focus and Fiesta models falling second and third respectively.

In County Durham and Darlington, Vauxhall, Yamaha, Peugeot and Volkswagen rounded out the top five most stolen makes in the region, including vans and motorcycles.