At around 7pm on Tuesday (July 18) police were alerted to suspicious activity taking place on Travers Street in New Herrington.
It was reported that a flatbed truck had entered the estate, and a group of men were stealing building materials including scaffolding boards worth £1,000.
Eagle-eyed security officers who were working at the time quickly saw what was happening and raised the alarm to police by dialling 999.
While they were reporting the suspected break-in, the vehicle in question sped away from the scene.
The security guards decided to follow the truck at distance, which drove towards the Shotton Colliery area of County Durham – while providing live-time updates to contact handlers.
The vehicle soon came to a stop near to Burns Terrace, with the trio swiftly greeted by officers who had been deployed to the scene to catch up with the occupants.
Three men – aged 19, 30 and 40 – were arrested on suspicion of theft. They have since been charged in connection with the report and will appear before court next month.
Neighbourhood Sergeant Tom Scott, of Northumbria Police, said: “Thanks to quick-thinking security staff who alerted police to the break-in as it was happening, we have been able to arrest and charge three suspects in connection with the report.
“Not only that, but their live-time updates allowed us to catch up with the group and recover a significant haul of stolen building materials.
“This was a brilliant example of how police can work together with the community to share information and stop suspected criminals in their tracks.
“We take reports of burglary and theft very seriously and would always encourage anybody who sees anything they believe to be suspicious to get in touch as soon as possible. That way, we can continue to work together to ensure our region remains as safe as it possibly can be.
“Thanks to everyone involved in this brilliant outcome – and particularly to our neighbourhood team who were able to stay on late and help to secure charges in this investigation.
Sgt Scott added: “As ever, we would also ask the wider public, including businesses, to continue to work with us to help reduce the impact burglary and theft can have by ensuring doors, windows and properties are kept secure and valuables out of view.”
Anyone who witnesses suspicious activity in their community, or has any information about local crime, can report it to Northumbria Police using the ‘Tell Us Something’ page on our website or by calling 101.
In an emergency, or if a crime is taking place, always ring 999.
(Source: Northumbria Police)