Householders are being warned to be on their guard after residents confronted a woman raking through their bins.
Northumbria Police are investigating following the incident in Millfield - which follows six months of similar incidents.
The police called after householders and Lib Dem Councillor Niall Hodson came across rubbish strewn across the road and the woman looking through waste.
It is believed those responsible were searching for personal details, medicines or clothes to sell at weigh-in stores.
The latest incident, which saw a series of wheelie bins emptied off St Mark’s Road, happened at around 2.30pm on Sunday.
Sunderland City Council has recently held consultation on introducing a public space protection order for the city centre and parts of Millfield, Ashbrooke and Hendon.
Local residents are, understandably, up in arms about bin raking taking place in Millfield.Councillor Niall Hodson
If introduced, it could see offenders issued with a £75 fixed penalty notice of a fine of up to £1,000 for bin raking.
The authority defines bin raking as: “The searching and taking of any items whatsoever from rubbish bins, bags or items clearly left to be disposed of or belonging to another.”
Councillor Hodson: “Residents are, understandably, up in arms about bin raking taking place in Millfield. “I regularly come across waste strewn all over back lanes after bin rakers have been searching through rubbish. This, however, is the first time that I have seen it taking place in broad daylight.
“The person responsible has caused a huge amount of mess with rubbish strewn across back lanes of St Mark’s Road, Houghton Street, Offerton Street and Lumley Street.
“Thankfully the police are aware of this incident - but if anyone sees anyone raking through bins in the future I would urge them to contact the police on 101 to report the incident, as well as informing their local councillor who can arrange for the resulting mess to be cleaned up.”
The council’s consultation, which saw more than 300 people voice their views, looked at how orders could be used to tackle bin rakers, as well as confiscation of alcohol, begging, street trading, dog control and skateboards and cycles.
The authority will now look at new measures to deal with antisocial behaviour with support from the police and landowners.
Further areas are to be consulted, with the first orders expected next year.