TWO men have denied carrying out an overnight burglary at the remote home of an 85-year-old woman.

Frederick William Cowie and Dennis Frederick Joseph Burdon are accused of taking part in the break-in at the farmhouse property in the West Pelton area, near Chester-le-Street, late on Monday October 1, into the early hours the following morning.

Intruders took jewellery, including the victim’s engagement ring, as well as silverware and other antiques during the burglary.

Several rooms, among them the bedroom where the lone householder was asleep, were entered and searched.

A bank card, belonging to the woman, was also taken in the raid and was used to withdraw several hundreds of pounds from her account at two store atms, 45-minutes apart, within a few hours of the break-in.

Appearing via video link at Durham Crown Court, from the city’s nearby prison, the accused pair both denied a charge of burglary.

Twenty-five-year-old Burdon, of Henley Avenue, Pelton Fell, did, however, admit two counts of fraud by false representation, by using the stolen card to withdraw £800.

His 45-year-old co-accused, of Harrison Crescent, Bishop Auckland, denied both the fraud charges.

Chris Wood, prosecuting, said the Crown is still awaiting the result of tests on potential forensic evidence.

Arrangements were put in place for a trial, of up to two days in length, to take place at the court, in the week beginning January 14.

Both accused were remanded to remain in custody until the trial date.