Two men who smashed a car into a service station shop have been convicted after admitting conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to commit burglary at Newcastle Crown Court.

A pair of ram-raiders who smashed a car into two shops and carried out a string of other high-value thefts have been convicted.

Louis Johnson and Michael Pemberton carried out a five-day crime spree across Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside earlier this year, drove a vehicle through the Harbour View service station in Sunderland in the early hours of March 9 before raiding the shop and making off.

They then ram-raided the One Stop shop on Blind Lane in Silksworth less than 45 minutes later, and carried out several high-value thefts across the city days earlier.

Johnson, 30, and Pemberton 37, were arrested shortly after the ram-raids when police found a silver Volkswagen with substantial damage driving along Ryhope Road.

The pair made off from officers and abandoned the car near the Civic Centre but were quickly detained.

Following their conviction, the pair were remanded in custody until they are due to be sentenced on August 4.

Detective sergeant Chris Raper-Smith, of Northumbria Police, said: “For five days, Johnson and Pemberton thought they could run roughshod across the North-East and thought they were above the law.

“They carried out two ram-raids in a single night, causing thousands of pounds worth of damage, with the sole aim of getting their hands on anything they could.

“Their crime wave caused a huge amount of anguish and upset across the community – so I am pleased that they have now been convicted of their crimes and face a significant period behind bars.

“We will not tolerate this type of criminality and hope this sends out a strong message to other would-be criminals. You will be identified, you will be pursued, and you will be brought to justice.

“I would also like to reassure businesses that we will continue to work hand-in-hand with you and use every tactic at our disposal to ensure thieves and burglars are taken off our streets and have their day in court.”