The man accused of acting as an armed robber’s lookout and getaway driver told jurors he’d been ‘set-up’.

James Povey, 27, was in the Premier corner shop in Barnards Way, Wantage, on April 7, 2020, when Lewis Greenslade walked up to the shop counter with a BB gun in his hand and demanded the shopkeeper give him cash.

But the construction worker told Oxford Crown Court on Tuesday (September 19) that he had no idea the man behind the balaclava was childhood acquaintance Greenslade, with whom he had been playing football in Witney earlier that day.

Asked by his barrister, Tom Parker, what went through his mind when he was later quizzed by detectives as a suspect in the armed robbery, Povey said from the witness box: “That I’d been set up.”

He added: “I was used for my vehicle to get him there and get him away.”

READ MORE: Prosecution opens case against corner shop 'armed robber'

The defendant said he had dropped Greenslade off at Chestnuts play area in Charlton, Wantage, for a smoke, having driven him back from the football game in Witney.

There had been no discussion with Greenslade on the way back from West Oxfordshire about ‘needing to get a BB gun’, he said.

Mr Parker asked: “Did he do anything or say anything at that time, before you got to the shop, that gave you cause for concern or suspicion about what he might be up to?”

Povey replied: “No.”

Greenslade had not been wearing the balaclava when he saw him, the defendant said.

He dropped his friend off in the Charlton area of Wantage.

Having been in the shop at the time of the armed robbery, Povey was said to have picked Greenslade up in his van.

READ MORE: Robber's look out drove him away from scene, prosecution alleges

Povey said he pulled over at the side of the Hanney Road after Greenslade asked to stop so he could urinate.

Police officers later recovered Greenslade's clothing from the river near where the van was parked up. 

“What did you think he was doing?” Mr Parker asked his client. Povey replied: “Having a wee.”

“Did you know or suspect he was chucking clothes into the river?”

The defendant replied: “No.”

He said he had filled up the screen wash in his van while they were stopped at the side of the road.

Asked why the screen wash reservoir was apparently empty when police checked the vehicle a few days later, he said: “I’m constantly using the screen wash in my vehicle.”

Povey, of Hamfield, Wantage, denies robbery.

The trial continues.