Pair deny link to shop raid
TWO Stoke-on-Trent men have refuted allegations they pressurised an armed robber into holding-up a newsagent.
Shopkeeper Ian Clark had a gun pointed at his head by Bowers, who stole £80 from the till at the Sandon Road store.
But Bowers, aged 29, of Hollings Street, Fenton, told the jury he was forced into it by Rushton to pay off a debt owed to a loan shark.
Bowers – awaiting sentence for the crime – said he was driven around by Rushton on July 23, 2007, looking for somewhere to rob and Clegg handed him the gun.
Rushton, aged 42, of Verona Grove, Longton, and a co-accused, Scott Clegg, aged 26, of Ridgeway Road, Hanley, each deny charges of robbery and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence.
Rushton told police he was at work, welding for Network Rail, on the day of the robbery. He had not threatened Bowers
Clegg said he had done some debt collecting work with Rushton, but had never tried to recover cash from Bowers. He said he was not near Meir Heath on July 23 and had never been in possession of a handgun. The trial continues.