The number of burglaries committed in Sedgefield borough are at a five year low, according to latest figures.

Crime prevention officer Neil Langthorne released the statistics at a recent meeting of the Sedgefield Burglary Action Group.

He said that there had been 346 offences in the year up to March 31, down by 53 on the previous month.

That represents the lowest figure since the current method of counting was introduced five years ago. PC Langthorne said: "Burglaries are down in most areas, with Newton Aycliffe and Shildon particular successes.

"However we have seen a slight rise in Spennymoor and a significant rise in Sedgefield village - it's only 18 offences, but there are normally only a few offences in that area."

He added: "The figures also take into account the trend in distraction burglaries which we have suffered from over the last 12 months.

"Previous figures haven't had distraction burglaries included in the equation, so had it not been for that the figures would have been even better. I think we're heading in the right direction."

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Pearson praised the role of the action group in helping reduce the figures.

The group, formed under the Sedgefield Community Safety Partnership banner, includes representatives from the police, Sedgefield Borough Council, Durham County Council, Three Rivers Housing, Disc, Victim Support, the youth offending team and The Northern Echo.

DCI Pearson said: "I would like to think we have played a significant part in these figures. "There's been a lot of work going on from the Press, Neighbourhod Watch and all aspects and it has been a team effort, so I think everybody should be commended for that."

He added: "We said last year that the figures were great and we wouldn't be able to beat them and I would hope that in the next 12 months the figures are even better.

"But there is going to be a time when we bottom out. It's our objective to get it down to nil, but we've got to live in the real world and it would be farcical to think we'll get to that stage.

"It's an issue that affects the quality of life of people in the borough and that's why it's vitally important we continue doing this work."