POLICE have released CCTV in relation to two separate burglaries which officers believe may be linked.

Both incidents were reported near Chester-le-Street on Friday, September 3.

The first is alleged to have happened at a convenience store in Birtley at about 7.10pm.

Northumbria Police was contacted after three men were reported to have entered Soka Wine Store in Durham Road.

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A spokesperson said: "It was reported that the men had entered the store and while two distracted staff, a third entered the private store room/garage area and made his way to the shop keeper’s private residence.

"The shop keeper, who was inside the premises, has challenged the intruder and attempted to take his mask off. But the male, who was speaking with a fake accent, has then fled the scene with his two accomplices in a black Ford Focus.

"We believe the men were looking for a safe and an investigation has been launched."

Officers investigating the incident have released images of two men who were in the area at the time of the offence and could have information that can assist with the investigation.

The Northern Echo:

A spokesperson said: "We appreciate the CCTV images are not the best quality but believe that those who know these men would be able to recognise them."

It is believed to be linked to a second incident at Ouston Service Station, near Chester-le-Street, which happened just before 7.30pm on the same day.

Durham Police is trying to trace three men in connection with the incident.

Two men are reported to have distracted a member of staff, while a third man entered a back room containing the safe.

He was disturbed and the three men left empty-handed in a Ford Focus car.

The Northern Echo:

Enquiries are ongoing and officers are keen to identify these three men who were in the vicinity of Ouston Service Station at the time of the incident.

  • Anyone who recognises the men released by Northumbria Police is asked to contact officers via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of its website or by calling 101 quoting crime number 096844D/21.
  • Anyone who has information in relation to Durham Police's appeal is asked to get in touch with Investigating Officer Ruth Taylor by emailing ruth. taylor@durham.police.uk.
  •  Alternatively, those with information about either incident can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.


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