A BOURNEMOUTH man accused of helping a gang who carried out a “violent” armed robbery on a high-end jewellers has told jury members that he “knew nothing” about the raid.

Rowan McLaughlin admitted having contact with two of the robbers before and after they carried out the £600,000 raid on J Franses and Son on March 14 this year.

Speaking from the witness box, he also told the jury that one of the robbers had visited him and his partner shortly after the raid because he had left his phone at their address.

But the 31-year-old denied having any knowledge of the robbery at the time of the incident.

McLaughlin also denied providing the gang with a “safehouse” and helping to store motorbikes which the prosecution alleged were later used in the raid.

McLaughlin, of Tregonwell Close, was giving evidence at the end of the second week of the trial, at Southampton Crown Court. He is on trial facing a charge of conspiracy to commit robbery, which he denies.

His partner, Sasha Hines, 52, of Knyveton Road, Bournemouth, is also on trial, alongside Jonathan Oriba, 27, of no fixed address, and Sophie Rivers, 29, of Church Lane, London, all who deny conspiracy to commit robbery.

Three people, Aktil Ford, 27, of Powis Towers, London, Darrius Ingram, 26, of Oxford Gardens, London and Shahid Sharif, 27, of Church Lane, London, have all admitted carrying out the robbery.

Rhys Greg-Ball, 27, of Hazel Grove, London, who assisted the group, has also pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Kalan Williamson, who is accused of being the fourth robber, remains at large.

The court previously heard how four men, armed with corrosive liquid, a Samurai sword and a heavy-duty hammer carried out the robbery at the Westover Road jewellery store around midday on March 14.

Wearing helmets and face coverings, they arrived at the store on three stolen motorbikes, one of which was driven through the front of the store.

During the raid, Ingram produced a Samurai sword which he used to threaten the security guard.

The jury previously heard he threatened to kill the security guard and was heard shouting: “I’ll take your head off”.

The group then smashed open the display cabinets and stole in excess of £620,000.

The trial continues.