IT was an inside job.
A planned heist where Stockton Bowling Club barman Scott Lynch not only helped plan the armed robbery of his own club, but says he gave the all clear for masked raiders to storm the place armed with a shotgun and threaten another employee.
Lynch, now serving a sentence for his part in the robbery on August 26 last year, was in the witness box yesterday giving evidence against a man he claims first approached him to hold up the struggling club.
Damien Lee Hudson, 35, has pleaded not guilty in Newcastle District Court to the armed robbery on the club's biggest day, following the Jellyblubbers Ball, where bandits got away with $34,520.
Lynch admitted to getting a 25 per cent discount on his prison term for giving evidence against Mr Hudson but denied he was pointing the finger at the accused in an effort to protect another person.
Instead, Lynch told the jury he had only known Hudson as "Damo" when he was approached about six months before the robbery about whether he wanted to make some money.
Lynch admitted he had a $100 a day drug habit, was only earning $400 a week with his bar work and was behind in rent.
He told the court he had had several meetings with "Damo" before taking him and another man, known as "PJ", to the club's car park to talk them through its layout and show them the back door where no security cameras showed.
He said he met the pair again on the day of the heist and was given $30 to buy a pre-paid phone which he used to call "PJ" when the coast was clear.
Two men wearing balaclavas then smashed through the back door and robbed Lynch and a female employee.
Lynch said he used a friend's car to drive to Damo's place later that night but could not find the men.
He claimed he met up with them two days later where they were supposed to split the money evenly.
Lynch said he got $4000 and under cross-examination said he did not complain, despite his dire financial position, because he was afraid of the pair.
The court heard he had identified Mr Hudson and PJ using photographs as the men responsible for the robbery.
Under cross-examination, defence barrister Mark Preece pressed Lynch on why he had told police he heard the "Islander" talking during the heist but not the other man.
Lynch agreed he told detectives he had just assumed Mr Hudson was the second masked man, although he would later claim he had heard and recognised Mr Hudson's voice.
The trial, before Judge McLoughlin, continues.