A MAN has been cleared of conspiring to rob a local off-licence and convenience store after his trial was halted by a judge.

The prosecution said that Mark Poynter, 19, was arrested after his DNA was found on a make-shift balaclava made from a pair of tights.

Poynter, of Caradoc Terrace in St Asaph, claimed that he may have wiped his nose on the material before it was converted into the mask.

At the end of the prosecution evidence, Judge Rhys Rowlands threw the case out on the basis of insufficient evidence.

He directed the jury at Mold Crown Court to find him not guilty after accepting legal arguments from defending barrister Duncan Bould it was not safe to allow the trial to proceed.

Discharging the jury, he said that there was evidence to link the defendant with the balaclava and a jury could accept or reject his explanation.

But he ruled there was no evidence to link the balaclava with the specific robbery at McColls in Rhyl Road, Denbigh, in October 2016.

A second man, Derryn Grief, aged 19, of Penymaes Avenue in Rhyl – who was living in Denbigh at the time – has earlier admitted the robbery conspiracy and is due to be sentenced in two weeks’ time.

Originally a boy aged 15 was also charged amid allegations that he was the look out while the other two went in.

But the case against him was dropped before the start of Poynter’s trial following objections about the photos used in the identification parade system.

The judge accepted that some of the photographs used did not resemble the suspect at all.

The court heard how two masked men robbed the lone shop worker .

They each produced a hammer to threaten him and one of them produced a knife, said prosecuting barrister Anna Pope.

Their faces were covered with what looked like black balaclavas.

The first man raised a ball hammer and shouted “give us the money”.

He then took a lock knife out of his pocket and pointed it at him.

The second man came forward holding a yellow hammer at chest height and gave him a bag.

They fled with about £250 cash and some alcohol.

Miss Pope said that CCTV footage showed three people approaching the store.

CCTV footage also caught three people near a recycling yard after the robbery had taken place.

At the time Grief had been house sitting in the Maes Glas area – described as something of an open house for local youngsters while the occupants were away for two weeks.

Poynter was arrested after his DNA was later found on a make-shift balaclava in a bin bag in the Maes Glas area of Denbigh.

Mr Bould said that the victim had been unable to say that it was the same balaclava.

It had no particular identification marks.

There was no evidence to link that balaclava with the robbery, he argued.

He also said that the description of the second man involved in the robbery, alleged to be Poynter, did not fit his client.

Poynter denied a charge of conspiring to rob a staff member at McColls and was formally found not guilty at the end of the prosecution case.