An armed gang responsible for a spate of burglaries involving £100,000 worth of goods could be staying in South Tyneside say police
Police have released an image of men they want to speak to about a spate of high-value burglaries.
And, detectives believe the travelling gang are staying in South Tyneside.
Northumbria Police has released the image as part of its investigation after another reported raid last night.
Earlier this week specialist detectives in Northumbria Police's Central Burglary Team launched an investigation after five similar burglaries in just five days.
Homes across Dinnington, Brunton Drive, Heaton and Gateshead were targeted, with the gang stealing £50,000 worth of jewellery in one of the burglaries.
Police have today revealed that a sixth property was targeted in Fenham last night with thieves making off with an estimated £30,000 in jewellery.
Nobody was inside the house on Redewater Road at the time but a witness reported seeing three masked men leaving in a black Mercedes car and carrying hammers and bats at about 8.40pm.
Detectives believe the same people could be responsible for all six burglaries due to the "similar nature" of the reports.
And now the specialist burglary team have released CCTV footage of a group of men they would like to identify.
It is thought they could hold information that is important to the police enquiry and could help find those responsible.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Knox said: "This is very serious offending by a sophisticated and organised criminal gang.
"Nobody has been injured in any of the burglaries but these men have been seen with weapons and we need to find out who they are.
"The value of the items stolen in these burglaries has not yet been determined but we estimate it is nearly £100,000.
"They have been prolific over the past week and there will be a number of people who would have crossed paths with this gang.
"We know a degree of planning has gone in to the burglaries so residents may have seen them loitering in the area in the days before the raids.
"They aren't from the area, they have Irish accents and it is likely they are staying in some sort of hotel or caravan park.
“We think they could be staying in South Tyneside, and travelling up to the Newcastle area, so we need people across the North East to think about whether they could have encountered these men.
"If you have noticed anyone acting suspiciously in the areas where these offences have been committed then please pick up the phone and contact police."
DCI Knox added: "We are releasing images of some men who we think could have information about the gang and we need the public's help to identify them.
"Any piece of information, no matter how small, could be the only lead we need to help bring this gang to justice."
The incidents being investigated by detectives at the Central Burglary Team include:
*Between 6.30pm and 8.40pm on Thursday, March 14, at The Crest in Dinnington.
*Between 7.30pm and 8.35pm on Friday, March 15, at Cragside in Heaton.
*Between 6.30pm and 8.40pm on Friday, March 15, at Oakhurst Drive in Heaton.
*Between 6.40pm and 6.55pm on Friday, March 15, at Windsor Court in Brunton Drive.
*At about 10pm on Tuesday, March 19, at Brighton Road in Gateshead.
*At 8.40pm on Thursday, March 21, at Redewater Road in Fenham.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 and ask to speak to the Central Burglary Team or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. You can also report online at www.northumbria.police.uk/contact or email [email protected]