A MAN is to stand trial for allegedly driving dangerously in a stolen Ford Transit van in the early hours of the morning.

John Thomas Fenwick is alleged to have been at the wheel of the van when it was driven dangerously in a police chase on Front Street, in Cockfield, near Bishop Auckland, in the early hours of Saturday February 27, last year.

Appearing at a Durham Crown Court plea hearing, via a video link, the 27-year-old defendant, of Eggleston Walk, St Helen Auckland, denied the charge.

He also denied handling both the stolen Transit and a Honda quad bike found in the van.

The quad bike was said to have been taken from a farm in the Shap area of Cumbria, earlier on February 27.

But the defendant did admit handling another stolen Honda quad bike on the same occasion.

Read more: Banned driver seen on quad bike given 'last chance'

His counsel, Chris Morrison, said his guilty plea was on the basis that the quad bike his client admits handling was not in the van, but was found, “in the vicinity of the van.”

Mr Morrison said the defendant claimed he was not driving the van and believes that it was a case of mistaken identity.

The hearing was adjourned for a trial on the three counts denied by the defendant, with a two-day time estimate, to start at the court on Monday June 27.

Following the outcome of that hearing he will be sentenced on the handling count Fenwick has admitted.

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