A MAN has been arrested after stealing a car and driving it through two Tyne Valley villages at high speed.

Police deployed a stinger to blow out the vehicle's tyres after receiving a report on Sunday of a man having stolen a Mitsubishi Shogun.

The victim said he had left his car to open a gate near Dissington Hall, in Ponteland, when a stranger jumped into the vehicle and drove away. The man then got into his wife's car and made off in pursuit of his own vehicle, so he was able to direct police to the correct location.

Officers soon took over and witnessed the Mitsubishi being driven at high speeds through Ponteland and Stamfordham towards Morpeth.

Police were able to cut off his route out of the area and a traffic officer then deployed a stinger device to pop the vehicles tyres, bringing it to a halt near Gubeon Road, in Morpeth, before he got out of the car and tried to make off on foot.

However, the officer who deployed the stinger was not done there, and was able to run down the suspect and place him under arrest.

The man was taken into custody, and on Tuesday, a top cop praised the teamwork of the officers who responded.

Chief inspector Sam Rennison, of Northumbria Police's operations department, said: "This response demonstrates the value of strong communication and teamwork. A number of officers worked together to establish the direction the vehicle was heading in and set up a stinger point.

"It has been expertly deployed by one of our specialist traffic officers, but he did not rest there and made off in pursuit of the driver.

"The suspect tried to escape through the rural countryside, but soon surrendered himself when he saw the officer in quick pursuit.

"It is a fantastic piece of policing and a wonderful example of officers from our specialist operations teams working together to make an arrest. This wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for the actions of the victim in the first instance, to think on his feet and provide us with the location of his vehicle.

"I hope this quick response reassures our rural communities that we are committed to safeguarding them against this type of criminality."

The 49-year-old suspect was arrested on suspicion of aggravated vehicle taking and driving whilst unfit through drink or drugs. He has since been released under investigation pending further inquiries.

Anyone with information that may assist police is encouraged to contact officers on 101 quoting log 559 20/09/20.