Pictures of children dicing with death as they lie in the road and run close to moving cars have been issued by police as part of a safety warning.
Northumbria Police has released the shocking images that show young children playing on a busy road in Washington.
In the images, three young children can be seen playing by the roadside.
In one of the images two of the children are even seen lying in the middle of the road while another image shows one the children running out on to the road as a car drives past.
The images, which were taken in Oxclose Road, near The Terraces in Columbia, were sent to police by local councillor Dianne Snowdon after local residents raised concerns.
Officers are working to identify the children in the images so their parents can be spoken to about their reckless behaviour but police also want to remind people of the dangers of playing on and near busy roads.
Neighbourhood Inspector Vicky Quinn said: "These images are shocking and truly unbelievable.
"The children, who appear to be very young, are risking their own safety and the safety of motorists and other road users by this reckless behaviour.
"Playing on or near busy roads is not safe.
"Parents should know where their children are playing and what they are doing when they go out and make sure they are safe and we would urge all parents to speak to their children about the importance of road safety and being safe."
One local resident, who did not wish to be named, said: “I’ve seen the children running across the road and causing a nuisance before.
“It’s an extremely dangerous thing to do, because you never know what could happen.
“I’m not sure what can be done to stop them, as they’d probably not take any notice if you told them to stop.
“It’s in everyone’s interest if this behaviour stops.”
Another resident said: “I’m quite surprised to find out this has happened.
“I wasn’t aware of this incident, but looking at the pictures, it’s obvious how dangerous that sort of thing is.
“I’d like to think that this will prove to be a one-off.”
Another added: “I just really hope it doesn’t take a serious accident for people to realise how reckless this is.
“Hopefully the pictures will shock the parents of the children into action so they can remind them just how unacceptable and dangerous it is to do something like that.”
Operation Dragoon is Northumbria Police's road safety initiative and as well as target dangerous drivers aims to educate all road users about road safety, as part of the operation activity packs have been developed for children to raise awareness of the importance of road safety.
Further information about the packs can be found by clicking here.