TWO men who took a Hermes van with 40 parcels inside before going on a crime spree have appeared at court.

Declan Todd, 22, appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, co-accused with Kai Wilkinson, 19.

Todd faced one count of burglary with intent to steal and one of theft from a motor vehicle, whilst Wilkinson faced the same charges, in addition to driving a vehicle otherwise than in accordance with a licence, driving without insurance and failing to stop when requested by police.

Geoff Taylor, prosecuting, said: “At around 9am on July 14 in Seaham the pair were in a Jaguar that Mr Wilkinson was driving when they pulled up behind a flat bed motor vehicle which had gardening equipment on it.

“The pair stole a strimmer worth approximately £200 as well as a hedge trimmer worth an estimated £800.

“Later that day they entered a shed in Witton Gilbert – however, they did not manage to take anything with them.

“Police spotted the pair driving the Jaguar and indicated for them to stop, however, they did not.”

Mr Taylor said the men also admitted to taking a Hermes van without consent containing around 40 parcels.

The van and the majority of the parcels were recovered, but not all of them.

The court was asked to take into consideration a charge of taking a vehicle without consent for the offence of taking the Hermes van.

A statement from the owner of the garden equipment read out during the hearing said: “These tools are for my business and I rely on them for my livelihood. The strimmer cost me around £200 and the hedge trimmer around £800. None of the items have been returned.”

A report from probation said both defendants were already subject to community orders from previous offences and both had hours of unpaid work to complete.

Robin Ford, representing both men, said: “They were expected at court on August 4 to face these charges. They both attended and expected matters to be concluded on the day, however, they weren’t.

“They have been numerous times since, and every time they come on time. Both men have held their hands up and pleaded guilty.

“Mr Todd is currently subject to a community order and has been carrying out unpaid work, he has 14 hours left to complete.

“Mr Wilkinson is also subject to a community order and again has been carrying out unpaid work. He completed 13 hours before Covid-19 and lockdown put a stop to it.”

Todd, of Gilpin Street, Houghton-le-Spring, was given a 12 month community order. He must also pay £500 compensation to the owner of the gardening tools.

Wilkinson, of Tower Court, Easington Lane, was also handed a 12 month community order. He must also complete 100 hours unpaid work and pay £500 compensation to the owner of the tools.