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POLICE chiefs have hailed their fight to drive criminals off Sunderland and Durham’s streets a success as crime continues to fall.

The latest figures from the British Crime Survey reveal that across Sunderland crime fell by 14 per cent and 17 per cent in County Durham.

The annual figures, released by the Home Office, show that across most areas recorded for the survey fewer people have been affected by a catalogue of crimes.

In Sunderland, violence against the person dropped by 10 per cent in 2010/11 compared with 2009/10, while in North Durham it saw a three per cent rise.

Robbery fell by 13 per cent across Wearside while it rose by three per cent in North Durham.

House burglaries across Sunderland rose by seven per cent last year, while North Durham saw a fall of 35 per cent.

Both Sunderland and North Durham saw drastic drops in the number of stolen cars, with Sunderland celebrating a 22 per cent fall and Durham a 25 per cent drop.

The number of thieves stealing property from vehicles fell by 28 per cent in Sunderland and North Durham’s by a quarter.

And sex offences across Sunderland and County Durham saw a rise of nine per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth, of Sunderland Area Command, said the figures are a “great achievement” that is down to the “hard work and commitment” of police and partner agencies.