A man charged with the theft of more than €1 million worth of jewellery repeatedly told gardaí he had been kidnapped after he was taken into custody.

Irmantas Paulauskas, of no fixed abode, has pleaded not guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court to the robbery of 208 diamond rings and 32 Rolex watches from Hartmann jewellers on William St in Galway in February 2015.

The 38-year-old was wrestled to the ground by detectives at Middle Street moments after a four-man armed gang robbed €1.1m worth of stock.

He also denies a second charge of having an imitation pistol, with a silencer fitted, with intent to commit robbery on the same date.

Detective Sergeant John McElroy told the court he interviewed Mr Paulauskas at Galway Garda Station on three occasions after his arrest. 

Mr Paulauskas maintained at all times that he had been kidnapped and refused to acknowledge he had been arrested and detained by gardaí.

He denied any involvement in the robbery and said he had arrived in Ireland "for no reason" a couple of days before on a ferry from France.

He said he travelled alone and took a bus to Galway on 11 February last year, with €35 in his pockets.

He refused to name the French port he had sailed from and said he was "just wandering around the streets in Galway" before he was kidnapped.

"I thought somebody had taken advantage of me," he said during interview, aided by a interpreter.

He denied knowing three other Lithuanian men who were arrested with him and denied pointing a gun at female staff in the shop.

In a second interview, Mr Paulauskas told gardaí he did not think they were the police.

"I am imagining I am kidnapped. I will not accept I am in a police station. I was walking around (Galway) and I was kidnapped. I just want to go home," he said.

Det McElroy said he asked Mr Paulauskas if people in Lithuania had promised him €20,000 to carry out the robbery.

"I was promised nothing," he had replied.

Mr Paulauskas also denied travelling from Denmark in a van, a week before the robbery took place.

His clothes were taken from him after his arrest, but he denied they were his when later shown to him as exhibits at the Garda station.

He was also shown video footage of the robbery in progress, taken from inside the shop, and denied he was the man pointing a gun at staff.

Mr Bernard Madden SC, defending, said his client would not be giving evidence.