A MAN has denied carrying out a robbery at the home of a 79-year-old woman, who was said to have been present at the time of the alleged offence.

John Gareth Wilson appeared at a Durham Crown Court plea hearing via video link from the city’s nearby prison.

He pleaded not guilty when the single count of robbery was put to him.

It is alleged he took a safe and money from the address in Rosemount Street, Bishop Auckland, on September 21 this year.

The safe allegedly removed was said to have been empty.

Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said the Crown would be pointing to dna on tape recovered from the premises, but Nicholas Askins, for the defendant, said that evidence may be tested by the defence.

Judge Christopher Prince said he believed the case could be completed at trial in two days of court time.

The hearing was adjourned for a trial pencilled in to start on March 17 next year and Judge Prince remanded the 40-year-old defendant to remain in custody.