THREE men accused of a robbery plot which included an armed bank raid in Flint have been cleared.

At the end of the prosecution case against Thomas Burke, Wayne Hamid and Daniel Morgan barristers successfully argued there was insufficient evidence against them.

Judge Charles James directed the jury at Liverpool Crown Court to formally find the trio not guilty.

Before the trial began five days ago Burke, 20, and Hamid, 21, both of Roughwood, Kirkby, pleaded guilty to another charge of conspiracy to commit burglaries. They were further remanded in custody to await sentence on October 15.

Morgan, 18, of Kirkby, who is not in the dock, denies the burglary conspiracy and the trial against him continues.

It had been alleged that an armed gang used stolen high-powered cars to stage two daring bank robberies. Three masked men, armed with a knife and crowbars, raided the Lloyds TSB bank in Flint on August 20 last year, making off with £175,000. Just five days later they struck at the NatWest bank in Childwall, Liverpool.

They were driven away from each robbery by a getaway driver but were arrested the next month.

The prosecution claimed an unusual £20,000 Seat Lyon Cupra K1 had been used by the robbers in the Flint bank raid and to rob a man of his Mazda which was then used in the other bank robbery.

Evidence allegedly linked this vehicle to the defendants but during the trial further evidence came to light about the possibility of another stolen K1 having been used by the gang. Consequently when the defence asked for the case to be thrown out the prosecution raised no objections.