A TRIAL date has been fixed for a man found in the cab of a lorry containing tools and equipment stolen in a break-in at a storage unit, shortly after the crime.

Samuel John Musgrave has denied taking part in the break-in of the storage container, at Slingley Fields, a self-build housing site at Seaton Village, near Seaham, on Friday October 25.

Appearing at a plea hearing at Durham Crown Court, the 44-year-old defendant, of Coverdale Street, Hetton-le-Hole, pleaded not guilty to a charge of burglary, together, with others unknown, of the container, from where tools and equipment were taken.

Judge James Adkin asked Crown counsel Victoria Lamballe if it was correct that the defendant was found in the cab of a lorry, with the stolen items in the back, while three other men were in the vicinity at the time.

He was told the other parties made off from the scene in a Peugeot car.

Miss Lamballe said: “Two have since been interviewed and may find their way here, in due course.”

Judge Adkin decided to proceed to setting a trial date for the defendant and should others, subsequently, be charged, they can be brought into the case at the same hearing date.

All parties agreed to a trial date of Monday February 24 and the defendant was granted bail until then, with an overnight 7pm to 7am electronically-monitored home curfew in the meantime.