Residents in a Sunderland community say people are lucky to be alive after the driver of a stolen HGV went on a “rampage” through their streets.
Cars and homes were left damaged in the Millfield area of the city on Thursday lunchtime as the wagon hit vehicles in Close Street and the back lane between Granville Street and Lime Street.
A small red van, believed to belong to workers carrying out renovations on a house, was left written off after being hit by the vehicle while the back wall of a corner property in Granville Street was left partially demolished.
It also clipped the side of the Church of the Nazarene, on neighbouring Close Street, causing minor damage, and is believed to have hit a police car before being stopped.
Northumbria Police believe that the HGV used is one which was stolen from Stephenson Industrial Estate in Washington.
Police have arrested a man suspected of being the driver of the vehicle, which had the name “Roof Truss Co. (Northern)” written on it.
Those living in the area told of their shock at the destruction.
Zoe Cruickshanks, of Lime Street, who is aunt to her brother Leon’s children Hannah, four, and Leona, two, said: “If the driver hadn’t turned the corner in the back lane he could’ve smashed through the wall into my kitchen.
“It’s very lucky that no-one was hurt as there are always kids playing in the streets, especially when it’s sunny like this.
“My brother’s kids are usually out here.”
Ms Cruickshanks, 22, added: “The driver of the red van would probably have been killed if he’d been sat in it.
“Whoever the person in the HGV is, they have gone on a proper rampage around here.”
Damien Driskel, of Granville Street, said his children Neve, six, and Ava, five, often play in the street.
“They’re in the back lane to play football or dodgeball sometimes but I’m glad they’ve been out somewhere today,” said the 40-year-old, who works as a driver for Bethany’s Florists.
“There’s loads of damage around the streets here. “Anyone could have been hurt if they were standing in the way.”
Rev David Hands, of the Church of the Nazarene, said: “Thankfully, only a few bricks have been knocked from the church wall but it could have been a lot worse.
“It’s a shame that someone would do this in the first place.”
Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 435 040816 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.