A SUSPECTED thief was arrested and a haul of stolen goods seized after officers found him hiding in a rubbish skip.

In the early hours of Monday morning police received a call from security staff at the Portobello Industrial Estate, in Birtley.

They told officers that they had been monitoring CCTV when they saw a lone man walking around one of their compounds.

Police were deployed to the scene and carried out a search of the area – before finding a suspect hiding in a nearby skip.

He was found in possession of tools and equipment officers believed to be stolen. They also located the man’s vehicle nearby containing more tools.

The 38-year-old was arrested and enquiries are said to be ongoing.

The officer in charge of neighbourhood policing in the area has praised the teamwork of security staff and response officers.

Neighbourhood Inspector Phil Hamlani, of Northumbria Police, said: “After receiving the call from security staff we were on the scene within minutes to carry out a search of the area.

“With the assistance of CCTV operators we eventually tracked this suspect down to a skip and he was promptly placed under arrest.

“A haul of suspected stolen goods have been seized and that would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the vigilance of the security staff at the industrial estate.

“Many businesses have been forced to close under the most recent Coronavirus restrictions and it is despicable that they should be targeted by thieves.

“We hope this swift response reassures the public that we are committed to safeguarding those businesses and recovering stolen property.”