A MAN has appeared at court accused of stealing Royal Mail post bags less than a fortnight before Christmas.

Robert Edward Turnbull appeared before magistrates in Newton Aycliffe for three charges yesterday.

He pleaded not guilty to stealing two Royal Mail mail bags from a post office in Peterlee on December 14.

He also entered not guilty pleas to theft from a shop and theft from a dwelling.

It is alleged that the 34-year-old stole seven tubs of Celebrations from The Co-Op in Blackhall Colliery also on December 14, and that he stole a safe from a house in Peterlee on December 7.

Mr Turnbull, of Nelson Street, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, will face trial for all three matters at Peterlee Magistrates Court on the morning of Monday, March 15.