Arsonists have set fire to sheds in an allotment, killing around 80 rabbits and guinea pigs.
The animals had won prizes around the country and were owner Bill Morris's pride and joy.
Yesterday, Mr Morris, 67, said he was devastated by the loss.
Firefighters from Swalwell and Chopwell fire stations were called to the allotment at Stargate Lane, Stargate, Ryton, on Monday.
POLICE are renewing their appeals for help to trace a man wanted in connection with a spate of burglaries.
On February 3, a man tried to gain access to five properties in Sunderland by warning the occupants of burglaries in the area. Then on the evening of February 13, a man of the same description tried to use the same tactic on six homes in Washington.
Anyone with information should call (0845) 604-3043, ext 66710.
A SERVICE is to be launched at Berwick Infirmary for cancer patients in North Northumberland.
Two nurses are undergoing specialist training to operate a chemotherapy unit.
A spokesman for the Northumbria NHS Trust said it was hoped the new unit would be in operation next month.
A SERIES of raids in Cleveland led to 17 people being arrested yesterday for drugs dealing.
Dozens of officers took part in the raids at 21 different properties in Middlesbrough and Redcar over the course of the day as part of Operation Sabre. Police arrested 11 men and six woman and recovered heroin and ecstasy as well as drugs paraphernalia.
A 27-YEAR-OLD Hawick man who admitted theft and attempted theft to fund his heroin addiction was jailed for seven months yesterday at Duns Sheriff Court.
Stephen Smith, of Dickson Street, Hawick, in the Borders, was said to have stolen two blank cheques belonging to a doctor from an address in Hawick.
Police found a piece of paper which Smith had used to practice signatures when they searched his house.
ARSONISTS set fire to vehicles in a scrapyard yesterday morning.
The blaze happened at a yard at the bottom of Bill Quay bank in Gateshead at 1am. Two vans and two cars were destroyed.