A LONELY executive in his 60s was told to hand over thousands of pounds or blackmailers would tell his employers he enjoyed smoking crack cocaine with a prostitute, a court was told.

Taylor Edwards is accused of robbing his alleged victim of a sword and watches in April last year. Together with another, it was said 24-year-old Edwards targeted the Swindon man after learning of his drugs habit.

In a breathless 999 call played to jurors at Swindon Crown Court yesterday afternoon, the complainant told the police call handler: “I was terrified.”

Opening the prosecution case, Nicholas Fridd said the alleged victim was a lonely man who lived alone. “He uses the services of a street worker. He would deny he uses her for sex. It’s not known whether or not they have sex. What happens usually is they go and buy together a quantity of crack cocaine which they smoke together in his house,” Mr Fridd said.

Edwards and an associate, who is not on trial, learned of the visits: “They decided he was an ideal person to blackmail.”

On April 26, the pair burst into the man’s home. They told him they would tell his employer he was smoking drugs.

It was claimed they ransacked the house, taking watches and a sword. They demanded cash – £2,000 within a couple of days, another £2,000 the week after then £1,000 a month.

He phoned the police. When police arrived on the doorstep they noted he was sweating and shaking.

A couple of days later they were with him when he received a phone call supposedly from the blackmailers. He said he had put £2,000 in a salt grit bin near the Holiday Inn hotel by Junction 16 of the M4.

In the call, which was played to jurors, the man on the other end of the phone questions why the cash was left in the bin. “Don’t play games with me,” growled the blackmailer, who prosecutors claim was Edwards.

Mr Fridd said detectives watched later that day as a 16-year-old boy was sent out of a car by Edwards. They were later arrested.

Edwards, of Sanders Close, Stratton, denies robbery and blackmail.

Chris Smyth, defending, said his client had gone to the man's house to confront the homeowner about child sex abuse images allegedly in his possession.

The trial continues.