FOUR men have appeared at court after dozens of gas canisters containing life-saving oxygen and other medicine were stolen from three North-East hospitals over the weekend.

It is alleged that the men, who are all from out of the area, conspired to burgle Darlington Memorial Hospital, Chester-Le-Street Hospital and Bishop Auckland Hospital between Thursday, March 19, and Monday, March 23.

Harry Goodrum, 23, of Norwich Road, Norwich; Wayne Grady, 41, of Salhouse Road, Norwich; Jake Roberts, 23, of Chestnut Hill, Norwich, and Oliver Evans, 22, of Sandy Lane North, Wallington, all pleaded not guilty to one charge of conspiring to commit a non-dwelling burglary with intent to steal.

Darlington neighbourhood police team said on Facebook: "Following work by both medical staff and police officers, two vehicles were stopped travelling south with a car recovered by our colleagues in North Yorkshire Police and a van stopped by colleagues in Lincolnshire Police.

"The canisters have been recovered."

All four men were denied bail and were remanded into police custody.

They will appear before a judge for a further hearing at Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday, April 21.