TWO removal men have denied carrying out a knifepoint robbery at a convenience store.

Friends Shaun Neil Stephen Holding, 33, and Ben Lee Simpson, 31, both told the jury at York Crown Court they had used the Spar shop in Clifton in the past.

But both denied being the two men wearing leggings or tights over their faces, one of whom wore burgundy trousers and carried a knife, who robbed its staff of scratch cards, cigarettes and cash from the till on February 20, 2016.

Both men also denied being short of money at the time.

Holding, then of Burrill Avenue, Clifton, and Simpson, then of Arc Light hostel, and later of Tang Hall, both deny robbery.

Holding, giving evidence, alleged “I know a million per cent I wasn’t there” and claimed he had never had a pair of burgundy trousers.

He accepted his DNA was found on a blade the prosecution allege broke off the knife used during the robbery, but claimed: “I can name 10 houses where I could have handled that knife in the past.”

He accepted trying to cash scratchcards stolen in the robbery at Macrae’s convenience store in Huntington Road, York, a few days after the raid, but denied knowing their origin.

Simpson alleged that when he texted to one of his girlfriends about a “big job” that prevented him meeting her the evening of the robbery, he was referring to a house removal job.

He also denied taking two sets of leggings from a second girlfriend shortly before the robbery, or of telling her details of the robbery after it happened, as she has alleged in evidence.

The jury has heard 15 minutes after a picture of a police car outside the shop after the raid was accessed or modified on Simpson’s mobile he texted a girlfriend: “Police still looking for me LOL, not doing a very good job, idiots.”

Simpson denied the text was a form of bragging, or that he had taken the photo. The prosecution cannot say whether the photo was taken by the phone’s camera. Both men accepted they may have walked past the shop a few hours before the robbery, but both denied they were reconnoitring the shop to size up the staff.

The trial continues.