December 27, 2011

Chelsea stars hit by string of thefts at training ground

Chelsea training ground
CHELSEA players have been hit by a string of crimes at their training ground.

There were 10 arrests for offences including assaults, ­burglaries, robberies and even the theft of an artificial pitch.

Five of those were believed to be connected to a fight between youth players, who share the same facilities with stars such as John Terry and Frank Lampard.

In the past five years there have been 17 thefts, four criminal damage incidents, three violent assaults and two burglaries.

The most unusual incident came in 2008 when astro turf was stolen from the club’s complex in Cobham, Surrey. No one has ever been arrested for the theft. During 2006, three employees were held for stealing. One of the thefts was from the players’ kit room.

That was a particularly bad year for incidents at the club with 14 offences committed. In February, defender Ashley Cole accidentally shot work experience student Tom Cowan with an airgun the player brought to the training ground. The 21-year-old suffered minor injuries. No charges were brought.

Earlier this year a knife was found in the youth team changing area. The young players were quizzed but no further action was taken after it was revealed it may have been left by builders.

However, only one burglary was reported this year, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Manchester City have also suffered crime at the club’s Carrington training ground. Offences over the past five include assault, ­harassment and two thefts. In one incident a bicycle was stolen.

Premiership rivals Manchester United have called in the police just once over the same period, for an assault in 2007.
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