Two men have pleaded guilty to ram-raiding two Sunderland stores and carrying out a string of high-profile thefts.

Louis Johnson, 30, and Michael Pemberton, 37, appeared at Newcastle Crown Court in relation to a break-in at the Harbour View service station on Dame Dorothy Street, Monkwearmouth, on Tuesday, March 9.

Police said the offenders had driven into the shutters to gain entry at 1.30am and stole various items before making off in a car.

They then ram-raided the One Stop shop on Blind Lane, Silksworth, less than 45 minutes later.

Police officers carried out a search and discovered a silver Volkswagen with substantial damage abandoned near Sunderland Civic Centre.

Johnson, of Marley Crescent, Sunderland, and Pemberton, of Edward Burdis Street, Sunderland, were also accused of being involved in several high value shop thefts between March 5-9.

The two men were arrested and later charged with conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to commit burglary.

The court heard how at an earlier hearing on April 8 Johnson admitted the first charge but had denied the latter.

But attending court via video link on Tuesday, Johnson changed his plea to guilty. Meanwhile Pemberton also admitted both charges.

Recorder Andrew Haslam adjourned the case until August 4 for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.

He said: "I'm going to relist sentence in respect of each of your cases to August 4. That is the first available date at this court that each counsel can be accommodated.

"I appreciate it is some time away but it's in your interest, I think, for you to have the same representations you've had throughout.

"These are serious offences, all options will remain open including the imposition of immediate sentences of custody."

Both Johnson and Pemberton were remanded in custody.