POLICE are investigating a spate of wheelie bin thefts from sheltered accommodation complexes.
Officers believe the thieves could be finding the bins useful for storing tools or stolen items including scrap metal as they go about their criminal activities.
Police in Easington say half a dozen containers have been stolen over the past week from complexes in Comet Drive and Manisty Terrace.
They say almost all have been stolen overnight, once the bins have been put out by their owners for refuse collection the following day.
Police suspect there may have been other incidents which have been reported to Durham County Council, but not police.
Officers have searched the streets but found no trace of the bins, which, they say, suggests they are being loaded on to a truck and out of the area.
Anyone with information about the thefts is urged to call PC Mark Wearmouth, of Easington Neighbourhood Policing Team, on the non-emergency number 101.