A COMMUNITY campaigner's car was smashed up just hours after posting a picture on social media appealing for information about an illegal biker.

It is the second time in just six months that Michael Landers, from Darlington's Red Hall estate, has seen his car targeted – but he has vowed not to stop speaking out about crime in the area.

He said that the criminals were "winning" in Red Hall, with too many people frightened to speak out for fear that similar things would happen to them.

Vandals broke into his garage and smashed all the windows on his car as well as slashing his tyres in the targeted attack two weeks ago – just hours after he had posted a photograph of an illegal biker on Facebook, asking where it was kept.

The damage was so extensive that the car was written off by insurers.

He said there were at least three witnesses to the break-in but they were too frightened to give statements to police.

Mr Landers' tyres were also slashed about six months ago after he appealed for information in a similar way.

And he was highly critical of the police, who he said spent just two-and-a-half minutes looking at the car and failed to reassure the potential witnesses enough for them to give statements.

Detectives returned the next week – but only to tell him they did not have the resources to deal with the crime, he said.

Mr Landers is a community street champion in Darlington and volunteers his time to litter picking, reporting fly-tipping and campaigning on illegal bikers by trying to get enough information for police to seize vehicles.

He said: "The police are doing absolutely nothing.

"The people who saw what happened were too frightened to give statements. The police didn't try to reassure them, they didn't want to make any effort whatsoever, and then they were gone.

"Detectives came a week later and they told me they knew who had done it but they said they didn't have the resources to do any more.

"In Red Hall, now, the criminals have the upper hand because people are too frightened. I knew of a woman who was burgled and she was too scared to report it, and she has just moved off the estate."

But he added: "I am not going to give up. I have a security company coming round to sort the garage door out and make it more secure so they can't break in again.

"I am not backing down."

Darlington Neighbourhood Inspector Chris Knox said: “We understand and share the community’s frustrations when any crime takes place in our area and obviously people’s safety is our top priority.

“We are very keen to address some of the issues on the Red Hall estate but to do that we need the help of the community.

“We will act on any credible evidence and we will keep members of the public out of it where we can.

“We do understand their concerns and appreciate their fears in coming forward. However, without the evidence our hands are tied.

“We want to engage with the community and we will investigate any offences, whether it be off-road motorbikes, anti-social behaviour or burglary.

"If people don’t feel they can come to us they can report problems with off-road bikes in confidence via opendurance@durham.pnn.police.uk and information for other crimes can be reported via Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800-555-111.

“Alternatively, people can call Durham Constabulary on 101 or 999 in an emergency.”