TWO men accused of robbing a victim at knifepoint outside a Post Office have been released from court after being formally cleared of the allegations.

John Thomas Evans, 26, and 24-year-old Sam Rudland were to stand trial at Durham Crown Court this week after denying a joint charge of robbery plus individual counts of possessing a bladed article in public, one said to have been carrying a lock knife and the other a craft knife.

It follows an incident in which a 34-year-old man was allegedly robbed of £20 by the defendants in Oakerside Drive, Peterlee, on November 26 last year.

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But the chief prosecution witness failed to appear to give evidence for a second day, today (Wednesday February 20), despite the previous issuing of a summons, and subsequently, of a bench warrant.

As a result, prosecuting barrister Adrian Dent offered ‘no evidence’ and Recorder Jonathan Aitken formally recorded ‘not guilty’ verdicts on all three counts.

Mr Evans, of Snowdon Place, and Mr Rudland, of Yoden Road, both Peterlee, were, therefore, discharged, enabling them to be released from custody.