Police branded looters “despicable” after a bicycle shop in a flood-hit community was raided while roads were blocked by water and silt.
Bikes worth thousands of pounds were stolen from KB Cycles in Newburn, Newcastle, overnight.
The store is close to where a modern block of townhouses had to be evacuated amid fears it could collapse as water washed away material around its foundations.
Since the break-in police arrested a man and a woman and have recovered nine bikes.
Acting Chief Superintendent Dave Byrne, of Newcastle Area Command, said: "The safety of business owners and residents is paramount and it is despicable if people are thinking of taking advantage of the bad weather and using it as an opportunity to break in to properties.
"We have increased patrols in Newburn, however, as always, it is important that people remember to take their own steps to ensure the security of their premises and belongings and make sure they securely lock doors and windows and use alarms where they have them.
"Two people have been arrested on suspicion of burglary and are helping with our inquiries. In addition, nine bikes have been recovered.
"Regular police patrols will continue to be carried out in the area and I would urge anyone who has any concerns to speak to officers or contact police on 101."
The huge amounts of mud and debris left by the floods rendered the area surrounding the shops unrecognisable.
Business owners said their premises were now under 6ft (1.8m) of water with still no end to the torrent that is pouring down the street.
Roads and pavements have been torn up and cars have been left buried in mud.
Shop owners have been rescuing what they can from their properties and placing goods in protective plastic bags.
They have also had to use ladders to bridge their way across the islands of mud that have been left by the floods.Reuse content