Take That gigs end in crime spree

One of the damaged cars

One of the damaged cars

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IT only took a minute for lightening-fast thieves to target cars belonging to Take That fans.

Nobody is thought to have spotted the yobs, who quickly forced their way into eight cars parked outside the George Washington Hotel, in Usworth, and its surrounding streets.

The crime spree is feared to have caused thousands of pounds of damage.

Nurse Lauren Franklin, who had her VW Polo damaged and sat nav stolen, was among fans staying at the hotel.

She had travelled more than 150 miles from Lincoln to see Take That Take in Sunderland.

“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the state of my car,” she said.

“It was parked right outside the hotel, but nobody seems to have seen or heard anything.

“I can’t see how they could have damaged so many cars without being spotted.”

The 20-year-old, and mum Joanne, were among the 56,000-strong crowd who attended the last of four spectacular shows at the Stadium of Light on Monday.

The pair returned to the hotel in the early hours of Tuesday after enjoying the Progress Live extravaganza, watching the chart superstars belt out hits including “It only takes a minute”, “Shine” and “Greatest Day.”

Lauren awoke later that morning to find that the front nearside window of her car had been smashed, and her sat nav was missing.

“I was supposed to be back at work, but I had to wait around to give the police all the details before I could set off for home,” she said.

“It must have happened sometime in the early hours of the morning, because the car was okay when we left the hotel at about 5.30pm and came back at 12.30am.”

It is estimated that it will cost Lauren up to £150 to repair the damage.

“I suppose when you compare my car to the some of the others that were damaged, you could say I got off lightly.

“There was a Mini parked near me that will cost about £1,500.

“It was still a fantastic concert though.”

Neel Chawla, general manager at the George Washington Hotel, said: “We are very sympathetic with guests whose cars were broken into, and it’s put a dampener on a good weekend.

“However, like all other hotels, we cannot take liability for our car parks.”

Officers from Northumbria Police are investigating the attacks and appealed for help.

A spokeswoman for the force said: “Police have received reports of a number of cars being damaged and broken into in Usworth.

“Some property has been recovered. Officers are carrying out further inquiries.”

Anyone with information is urged to contact police on 03456 043 043, or Crimestoppers anomalously on 0800 555 111.

@sunderlandecho