Motorists are being warned after police were called to around a dozen thefts from vehicles overnight.
Officers are appealing for information after the thefts took place in early hours of this morning primarily in the Murton and Seaham areas.
Victims have reported damage including broken windows and evidence of doors being forcibly opened, as well as items being taken from inside their vehicles.
Detective Inspector Lee Gosling, of Peterlee CID, said: “Residents can expect to see increased police activity in the area while we conduct our enquiries.
“In the meantime, I’d like to remind everybody of the measures that can be taken to ensure vehicle safety and security. In particular, making sure that no valuables are left on display is a key measure in preventing your car from becoming a target for opportunistic thieves.”
Drivers are being warned to never leave keys in the ignition, park in a busy, well-lit area, use a garage where possible, close windows, sunroofs and doors and store driving documents at home, not in the vehicle.
Anyone with information regarding the incidents or who may have CCTV or dashcam footage to investigating officers should contact Durham Police on 101.