A MAN was arrested while in possession of an Audi A3 vehicle days after it was taken from the owner in a knifepoint robbery.

Darren John Waugh, who was arrested at a friend’s house, denied involvement in the robbery, but admitted handling stolen goods.

Durham Crown Court was told an unknown assailant carrying a craft-type knife carried out the robbery of the vehicle owner, taking the car and its contents, in Thornfield Road, Consett, on January 29 this year.

Upon his arrest, days later, Waugh was in possession of the car, by which time its tyres were deflated.

Tabitha Buck, prosecuting, said he was also found to be in possession of the driving licence and bank cards belonging to the Audi owner.

Waugh denied charges alleging robbery of the vehicle owner and possessing a bladed article, in Thornfield Road, Consett, on January 29, plus a further count alleging handling the stolen Audi, between February 4 and 7 this year.

His case was adjourned for a trial at the court, listed for later this month.

Read more: County Durham man faces trial for alleged Audi car-jacking

But the case came back before the court on Friday (June 10) when the 38-year-old defendant, of Silver Courts, Brandon, changed his plea to guilty to the handling charge.

On behalf of the Crown, Miss Buck then offered “no evidence” on the robbery and bladed article counts, and Judge Ray Singh formally recorded not guilty verdicts.

Waugh, appearing via video link from nearby Durham Prison, was also to be sentenced for breaching a restraining order, after being in the presence of a former partner in Consett, on February 6 this year.

It put him in breach of a restraining order put in place at the court on March 26, last year, and a community court order.

The court heard he had failed to take advantage of the probation assistance offered and had little engagement with the service.

Lewis Kerr, for Waugh, said in relation to the breach of a restraining order, it was not in the context of domestic abuse, or where he had put his former partner in fear or distress.

Referring to the handling case, Mr Kerr said: “There was no suggestion of any planning, or any real evidence that the vehicle was going to be sold on.

“The tyres were let down and it was not in a position to be sold on.”

Mr Kerr added that the “realistic value” of the Audi was in the region of £5,000.

Judge Singh told Waugh that the Audi was not his vehicle and he was found in its possession, “very recently after it was taken in very sinister circumstances.”

Imposing a total prison sentence of 18 months, the judge told Waugh he had an, “unenviable record” for 72 separate offences, and has a history of paying, “little or no regard” to court orders.

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