Knifeman left DNA at the scene of crime

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A masked knifeman who raided a bookmakers in Ribbleton left a piece of silver foil on the counter when he demanded the contents of the till.

Warren Givens, 39, of Geoffrey Street, Ribbleton, denies being the armed robber despite DNA tests linking him to the scene.

Preston Crown Court heard cashier Christopher Palmer was working in William Hill on Ribbleton Lane on January 13 when the man, who was heavily disguised in dark clothing covering his face, brandished a cleaver style knife and ordered him to put money into a bag.

The jury was shown CCTV of the robber – who the 
prosecution allege to be Givens – jumping over the counter where he demanded to know if there was any more money before leaving the shop with £200 cash.

The tin foil, which had been rolled into a pipe shape, was taken from the scene and DNA matched that of Givens.

Timothy Ashmole, prosecuting, told the jury the likelihood of the DNA belonging to someone else unrelated to the defendant was a billion to one and said the foil had more than likely been used to smoke heroin – something Givens admitted to doing on a daily basis at the time of the robbery.

When police called at Givens’ house he was found hiding in a cupboard in a neighbouring property but he told the court: “They were always coming to my house, arresting me, harassing me,” and said he did not want to spend time in the cells suffering withdrawal symptoms.

Taking to the witness box, Givens denied being the man shown on CCTV, telling the jury he could not explain how the foil came to be at the scene.

In court he said he supplemented his £70 weekly benefits payment by buying and selling counterfeit goods, including trainers and clothes.

He said he smoked heroin with other drug users in the area and could not rule out the foil had been taken to the scene by an associate, although he refused to name the people he used drugs with.

When Mr Palmer gave his account to the police he said he thought the raider was a black man although he later said he could not be sure as the man’s face was so heavily concealed. Givens, who is white, denies robbery.

The jury is expected to consider its verdict today.