POLICE are urging people to be on their guard late at night after a spate of street robberies.

Four people have been robbed in Darlington in the past four days and police say the incidents are possibly linked, with all four committed north of the town centre.

Two offenders, in their late teens, are thought to be involved. The youths have either used violence or threatened violence.

The most recent incident happened just before midnight on Saturday, when a man police describe as vulnerable was robbed in Surtees Street. The man had his mobile phone stolen when he walked down an alleyway.

Last night, Detective Inspector Paul Harker said that he did not want to cause alarm, but he urged people to be alert when walking around late at night.

The first robbery happened on Thursday at about 10.30pm in the Commercial Street car park. A man was asked for his mobile phone and threatened.

A man was robbed in Station Road at about 12.45am on Friday. His laptop and mobile phone were stolen. A woman had her handbag stolen as she walked along Gladstone Street at 12.15am on Saturday.

DI Harker, of Darlington CID, said: "They are threatening or using violence and we want people to stay on their guard.

"Two of these incidents are definitely linked from the description of the clothing and possibly all four.

"They are threatening and punching people, there have been some minor injuries."

DI Harker urged people to be alert, especially if they have been drinking.

He said: "If you feel threatened, stay on main roads and if possible stay where there is CCTV. Don't walk down an alleyway if you have somebody following you.

"If you are carrying a laptop, try to put it in a different bag so that it doesn't look like a laptop.

"And be careful where you use your mobile phone."

Anyone who witnessed any of the incidents, or can help the police, is asked to contact DI Harker at Darlington CID on 0845-60-60-365.