A MAN arrested after two knife-point robberies in Darlington is facing a lengthy prison sentence after confessing to the frightening raids.

Matthew Ironside pleaded guilty to a series of charges when he appeared at Teesside Crown Court on Wednesday morning.

Ironside will be sentenced on March 28 after a probation officer has compiled a background report on the 36-year-old.

The first robbery was at the Majestic Wine Warehouse on Grange Road on February 6 when £90 was taken.

The second raid was at Ladbrokes on Neasham Road two days later when he got away with £420.

Ironside, of Paddock Lane, Darlington, admitted two charges of robbery and two of having an article with a blade or point.

He also pleaded guilty to having a bladed article in Parkside on February 9 when he appeared in front of Recorder Tim Roberts, QC.

His barrister, Chris Baker, told the judge: "There has been a substantial gap in his offending, certainly serious offending.

"There is an unusual background to this case and although it may only go to length of sentence, I would ask for a pre-sentence report. This will be his first custodial sentence."

Remanding him in custody for a fortnight until he is sentenced, Mr Recorder Roberts told him: "The fact I am granting the application doesn't mean the court must follow any recommendation that appears in the report. It is so every information can be given about your circumstances."

Ironside answered "yes I did that, so guilty" when each of the robbery charges were put to him; and "that's correct, so guilty" when the knife charges were read out.