One of the men accused of the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky today told a jury he knew about plans for a robbery at the Bradford travel agents days before it happened, but did not know firearms were to be involved.

Faisal Razzaq, giving evidence at Newcastle Crown Court, said he was asked by Muzzaker Shah to take part in the robbery but said no because he did not want to get arrested.

He said Shah had arrived at the hostel for asylum seekers in Harehills Lane, Leeds, where Razzaq was living and working, in the early hours of November 16 last year, two days before the robbery at Universal Express in Morley Street.

He said that night Shah told him they had a "job" at a business which was a front for money laundry. But Razzaq said he did not know it was a travel agents.

"They were going to rob it," Razzaq told the court.

He said initially Shah said it was to be a "snatch, run in there and grab it." Razzaq said: "That was my understanding. I did not realise anything else before the robbery. I didn't realise firearms would be involved."

He said he knew from Shah that Uncle Pete - Piran Ditta Khan - and Yusuf and Mustaf Jamma were to be involved.

Razzaq said Shah invited him to take part but he said no. he added: "I did not want to get arrested. Shah said no problem, we'll get someone else."

Razzaq said he went to work in Leeds in September, 2005, for Caradon Estates, which ran the asylum seekers house.

He said he had been offered a job as a client officer for asylum seekers by a Caradon manager, Sheikh Ahmed, who was a friend.

He said he started work on a wage of £14,000 but after a month it went up to £16,000 and he was also provided with free accommodation. He got a Toyota Corolla because he needed a vehicle for the job.

He said Caradon Estates had a contract with the Home Office to house asylum seekers and his job involved finding the accommodation and giving them money to live on. His area covered the North and the Midlands.

Razzaq said that, on the night of Thursday, November 17, there was a party at the house which his brother travelled up for. He said he bought alcohol, including vodka and champagne.

He said: "It was just, like, chilling. We were just drinking and smoking and talking. I spoke to my brother before he arrived and told him I'd get vodka. He drinks champagne so I had to get champagne." He said his brother arrived about midnight, with Piran Ditta Khan, in a Mercedes. Shah was still at the house.

Razzaq told the court that he had known Aslam for about ten years and he was his best friend. He said he and his brother Hassan had been joint best men at Aslam's wedding in January 2005.

He said he met Shah at a London college in 2000 and became good friends. He said he met Yusuf Jamma through Shah and had known him for three or four years and had met Mustaf Jamma but he was not really a friend.

Yusuf Abdillh Jamma, 20, of Small Heath, Birmingham, Raza Ul-Haq Aslam, 25, of Kentish Town, London, and brothers Faisal Razzaq, 25, and Hassan Razzaq, 26, both of Forest Gate, London, plead not guilty to PC Sharon Beshenivsky's murder.

Aslam and the Razzaq brothers deny robbery but Jamma has admitted that charge. Aslam, the Razzaq brothers and Jamma also plead not guilty to firearms offences though Jamma admits two charges of possessing a prohibited weapon.

Muzzaker Imtiaz Shah, 25, of London, admits murder, robbery, two charges of possessing a prohibited weapon and two charges of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

He has been acquitted of the attempted murder of PC Teresa Milburn.

The trial continues.