A CARPENTER charged for his part in the alleged kidnapping of a local businessman said he was "upset" his associates had been arrested.

Peter Chamberlain said he only went into Richard Baker's business premises in Seddul Bahr Industrial Estate, in West End, to chase up Daniel Harkins - who was inside trying to find the number of someone he believed burned down his gym in Eastleigh.

It is alleged the group pushed a screwdriver up Mr Baker's nose to make him hand over the number, before threats were made to his wife and children.

However, when questioned by prosecutor Charles Gabb at Southampton Crown Court why he and the others were dressed up in "balaclavas" purchased earlier that say, Chamberlain said: "What should I have been wearing? Should I have been walking around in a mankini?

"It was freezing cold the night so I wore my own snood and own hoody and own scarf. What else was I meant to wear?"

The court heard that after Samsons Gym, in Chamberlayne Road, had been targeted in an arson attack, Chamberlain received two text messages from Harkins, one of which asked him to share an appeal to find who burned down the gym as well as making statements about what would happen if they found them.

Earlier in the trial, Harkins told the court that the group were going out for dinner but he wanted to get information about the arson from Mr Baker.

Chamberlain said he, Rodney Traves and Alan Boddy went into Mr Baker's unit to "hurry Danny up" and when they went in they sat on the bonnet of car talking whilst Harkins "got a number".

Chamberlain, who has been a carpenter across the region for 32 years, told the court: "I was shocked when I read it in the local papers about them being arrested. I was upset about it when I saw they were arrested."

Chamberlain added: "Why would I be fearing being arrested. I didn't kidnap or assault anyone so no I would not be fearing that someone was going to give my name to the police because I didn't do anything."

All defendants charged with conspiracy to falsely imprison, kidnap and assault have pleaded not guilty.

Luke Yeates, 33, of Woodlands Way, Bursledon, has pleaded not guilty to helping an organised crime group and perverting the course of justice.

The trial continues.