Gateshead man remanded in custody after string of robberies and attempted robberies in town; Lee Paul Maurice Durrant in the dock at Gateshead Magistrates' Court after the alleged incidents on Saturday, but his case will be sent to crown court.
Byline: Sara Nichol
A man has appeared in court charged with the robberies and attempted robberies of six Gateshead shops.
Lee Paul Maurice Durrant is alleged to have committed the offences over a three-hour period on Saturday.
The 23-year-old, of Esk Terrace, Deckham, was in the dock at Gateshead Magistrates' Court where he entered no pleas to two counts of robbery, four of attempted robbery and six of possession of an offensive weapon.
The court heard how the attempted robberies are alleged to have taken place at Keller Cellar, on Balmoral Drive, Domino's Pizza, on Durham Road, Lifestyle Express, on Brinkburn Avenue, and Geordies Convenience Store, on Rectory Road.
Durrant is accused of entering those the stores armed with a baseball bat and threatening staff. It is said that he fled empty-handed.
Maimuna Bappa, prosecuting, said one of the robberies took place at Deckham Supermarket, on Old Durham Road, when he allegedly stole a till draw containing 1p.
In the second robbery, at a convenience store that was not named in court, he allegedly fled with [pounds sterling]260 cash, scratch cards and two packets of cigarettes.
Wearing a light grey jumper, dad-of-two Durrant was visibly upset in the dock but spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address.
Ms Bappa said the robbery charges were indictable-only and could only be heard at the crown court.
She said: "These are matters which cannot be dealt with at this court, so today is a matter of adjourning the case so it can be heard at the crown court."
Peter Farrier, for Durrant, made no submissions about where the case should be heard.
Magistrates remanded Durrant in custody to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on February 23.
Two other men, aged 31 and 29, also arrested on suspicion of robbery have been bailed pending further inquiries.
Anyone with information on the incidents, which happened between 10am and 1pm, on Saturday, should contact police on 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 403 07/02/15 or the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.