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

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

One was travelling north on Front Street, Station Town, and the other was heading 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 police car, PCs Lee Williamson and Julie Fox, from Peterlee Police Station, suffered whiplash and minor leg injuries, while the second car's occupant, Constable Mark Smith, also based at Peterlee, suffered neck, chest and head injuries.

All were taken to Hartlepool General Hospital and released after treatment.

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

Witnesses to the incident are asked to contact the police on 0191-386 4929.