DETECTIVES are appealing for help to catch a man who tried to steal phone cards from a petrol station.

The man entered Atkinsons Garage, in Stanley, approached the counter and asked for a mobile phone card.

As the assistant scanned the cards, the man attempted to snatch them, but he failed and ran off.

He is described as in his late teens or early twenties, 5ft 10in, slim, with brown hair brushed forward. He was wearing a dark coloured jacket.

The offence took place on Thursday, December 18, last year, at about 9.30pm but police were only informed about the attempted theft this week.

Anyone who recognises the man is asked to contact Durham police on 0191-386 4929, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.