Graffiti spelling out 'Help me' and 'Help me God' has sparked a criminal damage inquiry after seven homes on an estate were targeted by a vandal.
Northumbria Police are appealing for information after the homes in the Plains Farm area of Sunderland were attacked.
Now officers are trying to track down whoever is responsible, as well as sending out the message that anyone who is in need of help can get in touch.
On Saturday, officers received seven separate reports of criminal damage on the estate.
Each report saw the words ‘Help me’ tagged onto walls and buildings in yellow paint – with properties on Durham Road, Scruton Avenue and Sacriston Avenue among those targeted.
Two houses on Portland Road were also branded with the same graffiti on Thursday, February 7.
An investigation is ongoing into the incidents, and police are now eager for anybody with any information regarding the tagging to come forward.
Inspector Marie Pollock said: “Over the last fortnight, homes in the west of Sunderland have been targeted by these messages which have caused distress and inconvenience for residents.
“A large number of properties on the Plains Farm estate were then targeted again on Saturday morning, each with the same message sprayed onto private property.
“I would like to reiterate that intentional acts of criminal damage are totally unacceptable and we will take appropriate action against anybody found responsible.
“We have increased patrols in the area to offer reassurance to the public and we would ask the community to come forward with any information they may have regarding these incidents.
“If the messages are an attempt by somebody to reach out for help, we would encourage them to contact police to ensure they receive any support they need.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact 101 quoting reference 330 160219 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.