COUSINS accused of defrauding a “vulnerable” man of thousands of pounds from his bank account have been remanded in custody pending their trial next year.

Davina Keenan Copeland and Claire Copeland appeared at Durham Crown Court along with co-accused Gary Taylor, each facing an individual charge of theft, but each from the same alleged victim.

They are alleged to have persuaded him to draw money, pledging to pay him back, and, in some cases accompanied him to the bank to make the withdrawal.

Claire Copeland, 41, of Oak Terrace, Leadgate, near Consett, is charged with the theft of £14,495, said to have taken place between April 1 and September 3, last year.

Her 42-year-old cousin, of Ritsons Court, Blackhill, Consett, is accused of theft of £6,025, over the same period.

Thirty-seven-year-old Gary Taylor, of Northfields View, also Consett, is said to have taken £7,205, but between different dates, from June 17 to August 30, 2019.

All three denied a single charge of theft put to them at the plea hearing.

The case was adjourned for a trial, estimated to run up to five days in length, scheduled to start at the court on Monday May 24, next year.

Judge Ray Singh remanded both Copeland cousins in custody until the trial, but granted bail to Mr Taylor.