A SPECIALIST police unit has been put on the hunt for lead thieves who decimated a street's roofs in a 48-hour wrecking spree.
A total of 10 houses have been targeted by crooks in Caledonian Road, in the Foggy Furze area of Hartlepool.
Nearby Oban Avenue also had three homes that had their valuable metal stripped between Saturday, January 8, and Monday, January 10.
Hartlepool Police chiefs say the incidents are being given the highest priority and they have been passed on to the dedicated street crime team to be investigated.
Detective Sergeant Peter Young, from the street crime team, said: "I would urge anyone with any information or anyone who witnessed anything to get in touch.
"We are not taking this lightly and our dedicated unit has been tasked with looking into the thefts.
"We will clamp down on anyone who is believed to be involved in the theft of lead.
"Inquiries are ongoing by officers".
One resident rang the Mail to speak of his outrage at the thieves.
The man, who did not want to be named, said: "To hit one house is bad but they have done loads. The damage is incredible.
"They have ripped it up and damaged roofs, they probably don't even think about what they are doing.
"I don't know how much it's going to cost me to fix but it won't be cheap. If you just leave it, it will leak where it has been taken off.
"The police have been down and taken names and addresses and all that. Hopefully they can catch who has done this.
"I just want to raise awareness of the problem and make sure people check their houses to make sure they haven't been hit as well."
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Det Sgt Young on (01642) 302178 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.