ACCUSED of two frightening early-morning robberies at a newsagent and a convenience store in Rugby, two men are to stand trial later this year.
Dominic Williams pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to robbing staff at Maddens newsagents in Hillmorton Road of money and cigarettes on November 13.
And he and Daniel Bale pleaded not guilty to robbing staff at the One Stop store in Lower Hillmorton Road of money, stamps and scratch cards two days later.
Williams, 32, of no fixed address, and Bale, 30, of Phipps Avenue, Rugby, who both appeared via a video link from HMP Hewell, also denied possessing an offensive weapon, a hammer, at the convenience store.
Appearing in court at the same time, sitting in the dock with an interpreter, was Panassaya Deephonduan, 23, of Albert Street, Rugby, who pleaded not guilty to receiving a quantity of money knowing or believing it had been stolen.
The court heard two men went into Maddens newsagents at 5.15 on a Sunday morning and threatened members of staff, one of whom was punched in the face.
The till was then forced open, and the robbers fled with cash and cigarettes.
At the One Stop store two days later, two female staff members were working at 6.30 in the morning, when again two men came in and demanded money.
A hammer was used to threaten the women, one of whom suffered an injury to her hand when she raised it to protect her head as the hammer was swung at her.
On that occasion the raiders escaped in a Transit van with cash, stamps and a number of scratch cards.
Judge Sylvia de Bertodano, who ordered the link to the prison to be cut after Bale and Williams kept talking during the hearing, adjourned the case for trial, which is expected to take place in May.
Bale and Williams were remanded in custody until then, but Deephonduan was granted bail with conditions of residence and a 2am to 7am electronically-tagged curfew.