VEHICLE vandalism in two of the region's force areas has risen faster than the national average, police data shows.

Northumbria Police recorded an increase of 22 per cent and Durham Constabulary 11 per cent over a three year period between 2013 and 2016.

The rate for England and Wales jumped by 10 per cent.

Some 210,000 vehicles were the target for criminal damage such as smashed windows, slashed tyres and broken windscreen wipers in 2016, compared with 191,000 in 2013, according to data obtained by RAC Insurance.

The actual figures are believed to be considerably higher as many motorists don't report incidents, fearing it will cause their next insurance premiums to soar.

Drivers in Greater Manchester suffered the largest spike in vandalism, with the area's police force recording a 37 per cent rise.

Hertfordshire Constabulary and West Yorkshire Police had the joint second largest increase at 25 per cent.

Twenty-four of the 37 forces to respond to Freedom of Information requests with comparable data saw an increase in vandalism from 2013 to 2016.

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey believes it is one of the most frustrating crimes because of the disruption caused by a moment of "selfish intentional criminal damage".

He said: "Not only do many motorists who experience this have to go through the insurance claims process and the time consuming and inconvenient experience of getting the vehicle repaired, they will also suffer an inevitable premium rise and then have to declare the claim for three years whenever they apply for a new policy.

"In terms of motorists protecting their vehicles against vandalism there is unfortunately very little they can do to avoid a very deliberate action, mindless stupidity or drunkenness."

* These forces saw the highest increases in reported vandalism of vehicles between 2013 and 2016, according to RAC Insurance (rise in brackets):

1. Greater Manchester Police (37%)

=2. Hertfordshire Constabulary (25%)

=2. West Yorkshire Police (25%)

4. Northumbria Police (22%)

=5. Cambridgeshire Constabulary (19%)

=5. South Yorkshire Police (19%)

7. Dyfed-Powys Police (15%)

8. Bedfordshire Constabulary (13%)

9. Staffordshire Police (12%)

=10. Kent Police (11%)

=10. Durham Constabulary (11%)