A barber fought off a would-be mugger hoping to steal his week’s takings, a court heard.

Didcot barber Luke Key told jurors at Oxford Crown Court yesterday he initially thought the masked man was a friend playing a practical joke.

That changed when he realised the man, who mumbled repeated demands for money, appeared to be armed with a pocket knife and a wrench.

Opening the case to the jury, prosecutor Adam Williams claimed Ryan Roberts was the man behind the scarf. James Cumiskey was said to have been the getaway driver whose Vauxhall Zafira was photographed by Mr Key’s then girlfriend. Roberts, 32, and James Cumiskey, 42, deny attempted robbery.

Mr Williams said the barber had cashed up his week’s takings on Friday, November 16, 2018, at the Barber Shop in Broadway, Didcot. The money was estimated to total £3,000.

He was picked up by his girlfriend, Hannah Breading, in her Audi A3 at around 5.30pm. He drove the saloon back to their home in Saxons Heath, Long Wittenham, and parked up in the driveway.

They were talking about plans for the evening, with Mr Key keen to join his mum at the pub.

A man, said to be between 5’10” and 6’ and wearing a scarf across his face, crept up to the driver’s side door and grabbed the front of Mr Key’s jumper. The barber said from the stand: “There was a lot of mumbling. It was like ‘empty your pockets and give me the money’.”

He managed to fight off the masked mugger and chased him down the drive, then watched a Vauxhall Zafira speed away.

Mr Key got back in the Audi and headed after the car. They caught up with what the couple believed was the same vehicle at a set of chicanes in the village. His partner took a picture on her mobile phone then called the police once they’d stopped at a nearby pub.

She said in a statement read to the jury: “There was no way we were going to confront the occupants of the car when we knew they were in possession of weapons.”

The photograph of Vauxhall’s registration plate led police to the car’s owner, Cumiskey, prosecutor Adam Williams said.

Mr Williams claimed that mobile phone evidence showed a “flurry of activity” between Roberts’ and Cumiskey’s phones before and after the alleged attempted robbery. “The Crown say at that crucial time when no contact was being made between the phones that you can reasonably infer they didn’t need to contact each other anymore because they were together.”

Jurors heard that Roberts’ mother was in a relationship with the former owner of Mr Key’s barbershop business.

Cumiskey, of Royal Berkshire Close, Didcot, and Roberts, of St Anne’s Court, Didcot, deny attempted robbery. The trial continues.