Crime bosses have revealed why a police helicopter was deployed in South Tyneside last night.
Officers were following a suspected stolen vehicle travelling in South Shields.
Police received a report of a stolen vehicle travelling in the area at about 7.46pm, and trailed the white Renault van by road and air.
Northumbria Police say the van was later abandoned in Newland Court, South Shields, and officers searched the area.
They found the van, and are appealing for information as they seek to locate those involved.
A force spokesman said: "At about 7.46pm last night, police received a report of a suspected stolen vehicle travelling in the South Shields area.
"Officers and an air support unit followed a white Renault van towards Tyne Dock.
"The occupants of the vehicle later abandoned the van in Newland Court, South Shields, and a search of the local area was carried out by police.
"The van was recovered by officers and attempts are ongoing to locate those involved.
"Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 1144 080718."