A THUG who armed himself with a spade and took to the streets alongside his axe-wielding friend has been jailed for almost two years.

In March 2019, James Peacock and his accomplice armed themselves with weapons after the defendant’s friend has received a number of threatening texts.

The pair stood in the street, Peacock with the spade and his accomplice with an axe, prepared for trouble, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The potential for trouble flared up just before 11pm on Farrer Street in the Hope Town area of Darlington.

Peter Sabiston, prosecuting, said: "They remained in the street until about 11pm and appeared to be keeping a look out. People walked past them in the street but they did not make any gestures to any member of the public."

A major police investigation was launched after Mr Currie was found dead in a rear alleyway of a nearby street at around 10.30am the following morning.

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Following a post-mortem examination, Durham Police said there was no sign of recent injury and the death as being treated as ‘not suspicious’.

Peacock, 34, who has a history of brandishing weapons in the street, then went on to carry out three commercial burglaries targeting small independent businesses in March this year.

Mr Sabiston said Peacock was one of gang who broke into Durham Tees Windows, CDB Product Solutions and the Green Guerrilla Bakery on March 6 this year.

They stolen goods and caused thousands of pounds worth of damage at the three Darlington businesses, the court heard.

In 2018, he received an eight month sentence, suspended for two years after being charged with brandishing a sword in Darlington following a shooting incident.

Peacock, of Lapwing Drive, Darlington, pleaded guilty to all four charges.

The Northern Echo: James PeacockJames Peacock

Dan Cordey, mitigating, said his client had no previous for burglary.

He added Peacock was jailed for four weeks for assaulting an emergency worker in May last year and his suspended sentence wasn't activates then.

Judge Deborah Sherwin jailed the defendant for a total of 23 months for the burglary offences, weapon charge and suspended sentence breach.

She said: "You were with a co-accused, who was armed with an axe and you were armed with a spade, and following a number of threats, you both went outside but there was no threats made to those who went by you."