TWO men accused of an overnight burglary at the remote home of an 85-year-old woman have been formally cleared of the charge.

But Dennis Burdon and Frederick Cowie were given three-month jail sentences each after admitting either using or handling a bank card taken in the break-in at the farmhouse property near West Pelton late on October 1 into the following morning.

Intruders took jewellery, including the victim’s engagement ring, as well as silverware and other antiques during the burglary.

Several rooms, among them the bedroom where the lone householder was asleep, were entered and searched.

Her bank card taken in the raid was used at two store cash machines, 45-minutes apart, within a few hours of the break-in.

Burdon, 25, of Henley Avenue, Pelton Fell, and his 46-year-old co-accused, of Harrison Crescent, Bishop Auckland, formerly of Sowerby Street, Sacriston, each denied a charge of burglary at a hearing at Durham Crown Court in November.

But, Burdon did admit two counts of fraud by false representation, using the stolen card to withdraw £800, and handling the stolen card.

Cowie also admitted the handling charge.

At the scheduled trial hearing, recently transferred to Teesside Crown Court, the prosecution offered “no evidence” on the burglary charge, and Judge Sean Morris, therefore, recorded formal not guilty verdicts on both defendants.

He then sentenced them each to concurrent three-month prison sentences on the other matters.

Due to time served on remand awaiting trial, both were released from custody.