ONE of two men alleged to have carried out an armed robbery at a village post office has admitted taking part in the raid.

But a co-accused has denied involvement in the robbery, at the Post Office in Hunwick, near Crook, on Wednesday April 25.

Two raiders, said to have been armed with imitation handguns, took currency, stamps and postal orders worth a total of £7,500, before making off on a motorbike stolen that day.

Appearing at a plea hearing at Durham Crown Court, via video link from the city’s prison, 27-year-old David Declan Hanley admitted charges of robbery at the post office, theft of the 125CC Yamaha motorcycle, and possessing an imitation firearm at the time of committing the robbery.

Co-accused James Kieth Wright, 26, who also appeared via video link from the prison, denied all three charges.

His 27-year-old brother, Thomas Edward Wright, is on bail accused of disposing of an imitation handgun used in the raid, on dates between April 29 and May 2.

He denied a charge of doing an act tending or intended to pervert the course of justice in disposing of the imitation weapon, believing it may be involved in an investigation.

Judge Christopher Prince said sentence on Hanley, of Hawes Crescent, Crook, would be delayed until after the outcome of the trial of his two co-accused and remanded him to remain in custody.

The judge asked Crown counsel Richard Bennett if it is the prosecution case that two men took part in the robbery.

When Mr Bennett confirmed that is the case, Judge Prince asked Hanley’s barrister, David Callan, if his client was prepared to reveal the identity of his accomplice in the robbery.

Both Mr Callan and Hanley replied: “No”.

The estimated week-long trial of both James Wright, of Park Street, Willington, and his brother, has been fixed to start on October 29.

James Wright was also remanded to remain in custody until the trial date, but Thomas Wright was bailed to live at an address in Frodsham, Cheshire, on the basis he does not contact prosecution witnesses, and does not enter County Durham other than to appear at court or attend his solicitors’ office.