A MAN who escaped from a stolen car that crashed and overturned yesterday was arrested only hours later after trying to steal another car.

The first car was found on its roof at 3.30am after being followed by a police car and helicopter.

Two men were arrested at the scene - one was found hiding in bushes by the helicopter searchlight - but two others escaped.

One was spotted by a farmer in Walworth Gate, between Darlington and Heighington, trying to take another vehicle just before 7am. After being disturbed and asked why he was there, the man told the farmer he was lost, before running away. He was arrested soon after in Walworth Gate.

Another man was arrested while walking on the A68, near Barrons Caravan Centre, early yesterday morning.

All four men, who were from Darlington and described as young and white, were detained and interviewed at Darlington police station yesterday.

The first car, a blue Vauxhall Vectra, was stolen from Jedburgh Drive, Branksome, in Darlington, between 7pm and midnight on Sunday.

Police believe the car's owner may have known one of the thieves.

It was spotted by police at 3am on Monday and followed by two officers in a car, and a police helicopter.

Durham Police's policy is not to pursue stolen cars, but to follow them.

As police turned a corner, they saw the Vectra on its roof, with the men trying to escape. None of them suffered serious injury.

Police are seeking witnesses to the theft from Jedburgh Drive, and to the attempted theft from the Walworth Gate farm.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Inspector Steve Stein at Darlington Police on 0845-60-60-365, or call Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800- 555111.

Inspector Stein said: "This is a serious crime and we would like to speak to witnesses of the theft or attempted theft."