TWO police cars were badly damaged when they collided and then hit two other cars while on their way to an incident.

The accident happened as officers in two Vauxhall Astra vehicles were responding to a report of a theft in progress in Wingate, County Durham, shortly after 8.30pm on Tuesday.

One was travelling in Front Street, Station Town, and the other from Church Street when they collided at the junction.

The first police car struck a parked Mazda 323 and pushed it into a parked Citroen 2X, causing minor damage to the Mazda. Both vehicles were unoccupied.

The driver and passenger of the first car, PCs Lee Williamson and Julie Fox, based at Peterlee police station, suffered whiplash and minor leg injuries, while in the second car, PC Mark Smith, also based at Peterlee, suffered neck, chest and head injuries.

All were treated at Hartlepool General Hospital.

A police spokesman said: "It's fair to say the circumstances will be investigated, as is normal."

Witnesses to the accident are asked to contact 0191-386 4929.