A man has admitted attacking an elderly couple in Bideford when they disturbed him during a 3am break in at their home.

Peter McDonald, aged 30, of Abbey Road, London, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and inflicting grievous bodily harm when he appeared at Exeter Crown Court by video link from prison.

He admitted being armed with a hammer during the burglary on November 20 last year in which he stole a handbag.

He also admitted three frauds or attempted frauds in which he used a bank card to make a £22.78 contactless purchase in Ilminster, Somerset and to tried to use it for another £27.28 transaction and a £200 cash withdrawal.

Judge Peter Johnson adjourned sentence for a week and remanded McDonald in custody. He said the victims should have the opportunity to attend the sentencing hearing, if they wish.

The assault charge relates to a woman in her 80s who was attacked after she and her husband disturbed an intruder at their home in Fordlands Crescent, Bideford, at 3am. They both needed hospital treatment.

Speaking at the time, Detective Constable Stryka Blackwell said: “An unknown man was discovered inside a property by the occupant in the early hours of the morning.

“The man assaulted the occupants, who are an elderly couple, before fleeing with a ladies’ handbag. The couple were both taken to hospital for treatment.”