A MAN working on an oil rig in the eastern Mediterranean answered a police appeal over an attempted knifepoint shop robbery in the North-East, a court heard.

The rig worker recognised the would-be robber as Richard ‘Dicko’ Quarmby, a man he knew from back home in Sunderland, when he read of the crime and viewed shop cctv footage in an online local newspaper report, while doing a stint offshore near the Turkish coast.

Police were given the name and were able to follow Quarmby’s journey to and from the shop in a car he had taken without consent through piecemeal cctv footage gathered as part of the ensuing investigation.

Durham Crown Court heard that Quarmby, wearing a woman’s scarf part-covering his face, entered the Londis store, known locally as ‘Ken’s’, in Lincoln Avenue, Silksworth, Sunderland, shortly before 6.30am on September 27, last year.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said he approached shop owner Jasbir ‘Ken’ Khaira carrying a knife, demanding money from the till.

Mr Khaira stoically refused to hand over money and Quarmby left, knocking over a display stand in his haste.

Quarmby, 39, of Portchester Road, Sunderland, claimed he was not the man responsible, and denied charges of attempted robbery, taking a vehicle without consent and driving while disqualified.

But the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts to all three charges on the second day of his trial.

The court heard he has 24 convictions for 69 offences and was on licence from a 42-month prison sentence imposed for burglary, in 2016, at the time of the robbery bid.

Richard Holland, mitigating, said Quarmby committed the crime to help pay for his use of class A drugs.

Judge Jonathan Carroll, who praised Mr Khaira’s “robust” response, imposed a prison sentence of six years and three months.