Two in court over botched raid

SEALED OFF: Police in York Road after the drama at the Hartlepool branch of the Darlington Building Society
SEALED OFF: Police in York Road after the drama at the Hartlepool branch of the Darlington Building Society

TWO men have appeared in court accused of a botched robbery at a building society where a man claimed he was carrying a bomb.

Hartlepool men William Donaldson and Shaun Landreth appeared before magistrates in connection with an attempted raid on the Darlington Building Society, in the town’s York Road, which took place last Saturday.

Donaldson, 39, of Oak Grove, Hartlepool, was in custody at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court and spoke only to confirm his name, age and address.

He did not enter a plea to a count of attempted robbery and, as the case was deemed too serious to be heard in the lower court, town justices transferred proceedings to be heard before a judge at crown court.

His solicitor, Paul Hanratty, said he had no instructions to apply for bail and Donaldson was remanded further into custody.

Landreth, 35, of Dent Street, Hartlepool, had his case heard at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, due to a lack of court time.

Landreth, who was transported to the Middlesbrough-based court in custody, is jointly charged with attempted robbery.

Both men are expected to appear at Teesside Crown Court on Thursday, July 19.

Police had been called to the building society around 10am on Saturday following reports that a hooded man with a scarf around his face and who was carrying a “suspicious package” walked into the premises and demanded cash.

Armed police quickly swooped on the scene, but the would-be robber had fled without any cash and police say there was no sign of a bomb.

Businesses had to close for around 50 minutes as York Road was sealed off by police. Crowds of shoppers also gathered to watch the incident.