A construction worker who claimed to have been ‘set up’ by an armed robber has been found guilty of robbery.

James Povey, 27, accepted that he had driven balaclava-wearing ‘gunman’ Lewis Greenslade back to Wantage from a trip to play football on April 7, 2020, the day of the robbery.

But he said he had gone into the Premier store in Barnards Way, Wantage, to buy milk and cereal, and did not recognise Greenslade as the BB gun-toting robber. Greenslade got away with around £200 cash, which had been handed over by the shopkeeper.

READ MORE: Robbery accused claims he was set up by gunman

Jurors heard that he had picked up Greenslade from a nearby play area after the robbery. He was seen by his works van, a Vauxhall, parked up at the side of the Hanney Road around an hour after the robbery. Police officers later retrieved Greenslade’s clothing from a stream near where the vehicle was seen parked.

From the witness box, Povey told the jury he had felt ‘terrible’ about what happened to the shopkeeper, who was a family friend. When he realised he had driven the robber to and from the area, he felt he had been ‘set up’.

Prosecuting, Sophie Stannard said the Crown’s case was that Povey had been a part of the robbery, deliberately engaging the robbed shopkeeper in conversation to give Greenslade a chance to get away before picking him up and driving him from the scene.

He was found guilty on Wednesday (September 20) of a single count of robbery. 

Bailing him until the sentencing hearing on October 27, Judge Ian Pringle KC said: “You have been convicted unanimously by this jury of a serious offence of robbery, and to all intents and purposes this was an armed robbery in which you played your part.

“You should be under no illusion; the likely sentence is going to be one of immediate imprisonment.”

He ordered the preparation of pre-sentence reports from the probation service and ordered Povey to abide by bail conditions to live and sleep at his grandmother’s house, cooperate with the probation service, and sign on at Abingdon police station every Sunday.

Povey, of Hamfield, Wantage, will be sentenced alongside his co-defendant, Lewis Greenslade, `now 20, of Grove, near Bristol. The younger man pleaded guilty in 2021 to his part in the robbery.