THE boss of one of the North-East’s leading security firms has struck a unique deal with a motor dealer so he has a better chance of sneaking up on criminals to catch them red-handed.

Francis Jones, who runs Sparta Security, was finding that his fleet of ten branded trucks were too noisy during night-time surveillance and expressed his frustration on social media.

North-East motor dealer SG Petch responded by supplying Sparta with an electric car for free – and has told Francis he can keep it longer on condition he catches a criminal within three months.

The ‘catch-a-crook-keep-the-car’ deal was the idea of Craig Saunders, general manager of SG Petch in Darlington.

Craig arranged for Sparta to have the use of a Hyundai IONIQ hybrid, a vehicle that’s well known for being extremely quiet.

“We’d already supplied Francis with a fleet of trucks, but when we saw his social media posts about them being noisy, we saw it as an opportunity to do something to help keep the community safe,” said Craig.

“We’ve given Sparta the car for an initial three months and, if they catch a burglar, they gets to keep it longer – that’s the deal.”

Francis, who rose to fame in the BBC 3 fly-on-the-wall documentary Rent A Cop, said: “It’s really important to be as quiet as possible when you’re on surveillance so this is going to be a big help.

“The car’s as quiet as a mouse so I’m confident I’ll catch a burglar within the three months and get to keep the car.”