A GANG of masked robbers who tried to steal the day’s takings from Trago Mills were foiled by a quick-witted security guard.

The three men in an old Ford Mondeo drove onto a pavement and tried to intercept guard Matthew Fleet as he carried £1,644 from the Build Centre DIY store to the main shop at the Stover site.

He realised what was about to happen and dashed back into the safety of the building before the men could reach him and they left empty handed.

Former Trago employee Matthew Jagla and his friend Samuel Boon have gone on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of being two of the three men involved in the raid.

Jagla is said to have been the inside man, who knew the exact time the cash was going to be transferred, while Boon is alleged to have been one of the other two. The third has not been traced.

The two men were linked to the unsuccessful raid by DNA on a balaclava and two sets of latex gloves which were found by police in the silver Mondeo after it was abandoned close to Jagla’s former home at Heathfield, the jury have been told.

Jagla, aged 29, of The Strand, Dawlish, and Boon, aged 28, of Coombe Lane, Torquay, both deny attempted robbery. They say it is a case of mistaken identity and their DNA was on the items because they had previously worked on the car.

Mr Tom Bradnock, prosecuting, said the cash from the Build Centre was transferred at 8 pm every night to the main building where it was put in a safe.

Mr Fleet was making the 30 second walk on the night of December 17, 2018, when the Mondeo mounted the pavement next to the loading area outside the DIY store.

He was accompanied by a member of staff and had alerted colleagues who monitored his progress on CCTV, which showed the car pulling up and masked men getting out of the passenger door and rear door, apparently carrying weapons.

The footage showed Mr Fleet reacting by turning tail before they even got out of the car and running back through an automatic door into the Build Centre.

The two men then run back to the car and got in as it pulled away. It was abandoned at Heathfield the next day and an unidentifiable man could be seen leaving it.

Mr Bradnock said DNA from both men was found on two sets of gloves recovered from the car and DNA which probably came from Boon’s saliva was on a hat which hat been adapted to make a balaclava.

He said phone evidence from the two days before the incident showed 23 contacts between the two men. Jagla’s phone showed him moving from Stover to Torbay at around 5.30. Both phones then went blank until 8.50 pm, when they were back in Torquay.

Mr Bradnock said: ‘Neither defendant has an alibi and they are connected to the car by DNA. Jagla knew the routine and the route that would be taken by the security office.’

In a statement read to the jury, Mr Fleet said he was pulling the bags of cash in a wheeled shopping trolley, which he picked up as soon as he saw the danger.

He said: ‘I was no more than 20 metres from the store when I saw a tatty old silver Mondeo come from the right and dive onto the pavement. I heard its front bumper on the kerb.

‘Initially I thought it was somebody who could not drive or had lost control. I looked at the front passenger and saw a person looking at me. He had a dark mask on and formed the opinion he was intending to commit a robbery.

‘He hesitated for a second before he opened the door and it gave me a second to think and to turn back to the door I had just come from. As I turned and ran I heard a male voice which was aggressive and loud.’

He said he threw the cash to one side once inside the door, called for help, and turned to face the robbers, who he thought were following him, only to find they had fled.

The trial continues