TWO men have gone on trial accused of robbing a Spar shop in masks - and holding a knife to the manager's face.

Ben Lee Simpson, 31, of Gillygate, York, and Shaun Holding, 33, of North Avenue, Bradford, are accused of robbing the Clifton Green store while wearing masks and fleeing with cash, scratch cards and cigarettes, York Crown Court heard.

Andrew Semple, prosecuting, said the pair wore scarves and tights to hide their faces and went into the York shop on the evening of Saturday, February 20, 2016.

Mr Semple claimed the men set out to raid the shop’s safe and must have known the store’s layout because they immediately directed staff to where the safe was at the back of the building.

One of the men allegedly held a knife to the store manager’s face in a desperate attempt to get him to unlock the safe, the jury heard.

However, the court was told the manager grabbed the knife and the blade snapped off the handle.

The pair then realised the safe was on a time lock and turned their attention to the tills, the court heard.

Mr Semple told the jury the pair “frog marched” a female worker to the front of the store and demanded she open the tills.

“When she opened them they grabbed the cash notes inside,” said Mr Semple.

“They also got a bag and filled it with cigarettes and snatched at scratch cards.”

After the men fled, the broken blade was left behind and handed over to police for forensic analysis, the court heard.

The female member of staff told the court she believed the same men who robbed the store walked past it on the same night when she was having a cigarette break and she recognised one as a customer she knew as “Ben”.

Simpson’s ex-partner told the court he confessed to her about the robbery and she saw him wearing new trainers and a jumper days after the alleged crime.

When challenged he told the woman a friend had given him the clothes, but she was suspicious because he regularly said he had no money, the court heard.

Simpson and Holding both deny a single charge of robbery.

The trial continues.