TWO suspects have been arrested after offensive graffiti was etched across houses and businesses.

Police were alerted to 16 separate offences of criminal damage last Monday and Tuesday in the Southwick area of Sunderland.

An investigation was launched and on Tuesday a member of the public visited the SARA Project’s base at Austin House, Shakespeare Street, to pass on information.

That intelligence led to police identifying two males, aged 32 and 17, who were arrested and taken into custody.

Sergeant Claire Wood is the policing lead for the SARA Project, an acronym for Southwick Altogether Raising Aspirations, which was launched in September.

Sgt Wood said: “Intentional acts of criminal damage are totally unacceptable so upon seeing this graffiti spate across Southwick, we immediately launched an investigation and worked with both the council and Gentoo to clean the sites.

“We were aided when a member of the public dropped into Austin House and passed on intelligence which corroborated a number of our enquiries.

“As a result, we were able to place two males under arrest and they were taken into custody for further questioning.”

One of the men arrested has since been released on police bail while the other remains under investigation.