A MAN has appeared in court charged with burgling the home of an elderly woman while she slept.

Darren Michael Russell appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court today (Monday, December 31) where he was charged with a dwelling burglary and also causing criminal damage.

It is alleged the 41-year-old, who gave his address as Hargreave Terrace, Darlington, broke into a house in the town's Leonard Street on December 18 and stole a gold watch and alcohol miniatures.

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He is also accused of causing criminal damage to furniture in the house.

Magistrates said the offence was too serious for them to deal with and will transfer the case to crown court.

No pleas were entered.

An application for bail was refused and Russell was remanded in custody.

He will next appear at court via video link on Wednesday, December 9, with his case being committed to crown court on Wednesday, February 13.