Three men accused of the violent robbery of another man have been cleared.
David Hindmarch, Barry Ingham and David Rutherford were found not guilty following a trial lasting four days at Teesside Crown Court.
They were alleged to have beaten the victim while he was drinking with two women in Ingham’s house in Hartlepool.
The victim said he had a knife held to his throat while one of his attackers demanded his bank card PIN number.
Each of the three men was later picked out of an identity parade by the victim.
Ingham said he could not have committed the attack in the morning as the victim claimed because he was in Hartlepool police station at the time.
Police records showed he was not released from custody until 12.23pm that day.
Blood from the victim was found on clothing worn by Mr Hindmarch and Mr Rutherford.
Both men said they had gone to the house to find buyers for some shampoo they were selling.
They had found the victim collapsed on the lounge floor of the house and helped him to his feet, which was when the blood would have got on their clothing.
Mr Hindmarch admitted he had not told the full story when first questioned by police.
He said: “I said nothing then because there were some people in that house I didn’t want to get on the wrong side of.
“Once you get labelled a grass, that’s it, people see two and two and make 12.”
Hindmarch, 36, of Grange Road, Ingham, 36, of Sheriff Street, and Rutherford, 37, of Alma Street, all Hartlepool, were each found not guilty of robbery on January 19.
Judge Stephen Ashurst released Mr Hindmarch and Mr Rutherford from the dock.
Ingham was returned to prison to continue serving a sentence for an unrelated offence.