A JUDGE has ordered a not guilty verdict on a Nelson man accused of trying to grope a female customer at a Nelson store.

Fahad Mehmood, 27, was alleged to have made a grab for a young woman in the cosmetics aisle of Wilkinson’s, in the town’s Pendle Rise shopping centre.

Mehmood, of Bentley Street, Nelson, who denied sexual assault, insisted that he had been merely trying to ask the woman about the suitability of hair dyes on sale there.

Judge Christopher Cornwall QC halted a Preston Crown Court and directed the jury to find him not guilty, on the second day of a trial, and he was discharged from the dock.

Interviewed after the alleged incident by Lancashire Police, shortly afterwards, Mehmood said he had spoken to the alleged victim about hair dyes, after tapping her on the shoulder, as he wanted to know if they were suitable for both men and women.

The court heard that he became alarmed when she started shouting at him and he quickly left the store.

He insisted that any contact between the pair would have been accidental and denied any impropriety.

CCTV cameras filmed Mehmood and the young woman entering the store but the alleged incident itself was obscured by overhanging signs.