A Thai sex worker told a jury on Wednesday that she and a male colleague were robbed by three men after one had posed as a customer to get into the apartment they were renting.

The pair, who were working from a third floor flat in Watford, were ordered into a bedroom while the gang carried out a search and escaped with £1,100 cash, jewellery and electrical items.

One of the robbers - alleged to be 25-year-old Romanian Ionut Sofroniei - was detected after the woman used his phone number to find his Facebook account, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Giving evidence via a video link from Edinburgh, where she now lives, the woman said she came to the UK from Thailand 20 years ago. She was married, is now divorced and has permanent residency in the UK.

Prosecutor George Heimler put it to her: "In 2018 you were working in massage and providing sexual services?" She replied: "Yes".

She said she and her male friend were renting apartments at different locations and advertising on the site AdultWork.

On Monday January 15 2018, they rented a flat in Mayfair Court, Observer Drive, for £800 for a week.

Two days later, she said she received a text from the guy who robbed her.

It read: "How much for one hour." She replied: "£100 hun.x" He said: "Ok can you send me your address?"

She said he arrived at about a quarter to seven, but left saying he would have to get cash from an ATM.

She said: "10 to 20 minutes later he came back with another two men. He pushed the door open."

The court heard she injured her lip as her head was pushed to the floor before she and her friend were pushed into a bedroom.

Speaking through a Thai interpreter she said: "A guy with a mask asked us to sit down in one room and other two men searched the flat for belongings."

She said the man in a mask, who was armed with what looked like a spanner, told them not to say anything.

The men took £400 from her and £700 from her friend, along with her jewellery which depicted the Buddha.

They left after 20 to 30 minutes. She said: "I was shocked. I did not know what to do."

She then used the phone number she had been messaged on to carry out a search on Facebook. It gave her a photo allegedly of Ionut Sofroniei, who she described as man two, who wore the mask.

Mr Sofroniei, of Wooldridge Road, Feltham, denies two charges of robbery. The other two have not been detected.

Opening the case to the jury of 10 women and two men, Mr Heimler said one of the robbery victims sent a message on Facebook asking for their money back.

The victims went to the police the next day, but when an officer tried to find the Facebook link it had been removed.

It was only in August last year that Mr Sofroniei was arrested, said Mr Heimler.

Case proceeding.