TWO raiders who targeted a village’s only shop in the early hours of the morning were told they should expect to receive custodial sentences.

The warning was given to Alex Anthony William Hird and Kevin Jackson who were two of three men involved in the break-in at the small store in Edmundbyers, west of Consett, on January 15.

Durham Crown Court heard the owner woke upstairs when they entered The Old Village Shop and came down to see two males in the premises and one outside.

Amrit Jandoo, prosecuting, said the owner briefly grappled with one of them, before he and the other intruder fled to a waiting vehicle outside.

The owner gave chase in his van and took the registration of the escape vehicle before passing in to police.

Mr Jandoo said when police located the van, the defendants were inside and although they made initial denials, Jackson went on to make admissions.

The pair admitted burglary when they appeared before magistrates and the case was sent to the crown court for sentence.

But Tony Hawks, for Jackson, told the scheduled sentencing hearing that his client has several past minor convictions, but only a single burglary, dating from 2004.

“He’s plainly not a career burglar, despite his convictions.

“He’s a recovering heroin addict and is on a methadone programme.

“It may be custody is the only outcome, but it may be a report by the Probation Service on his progress with the methadone programme could be of assistance to the court.”

Ian West, for Hird, said he has “little in his background” but a report may also help in his case.

Deputy Circuit Judge Paul Worsley QC agreed to adjourn for reports on the pair.

He bailed Hird, 22, of Sidehead, Westgate, in Weardale, and 32-year-old Jackson, of Adderlane Road, Prudhoe, Northumberland, to return for sentence on March 29.

But he told them: “Don’t be under any illusion, the fact I’m granting you bail should be no indication that you will be walking out when you fall to be sentenced on the day of reckoning.

“You must expect to be going down when you come back.”