STOKE City footballer Saido Berahino has been banned from the roads after drink-driving while allegedly fleeing armed robbers in London.
The striker was today disqualified from driving for 30 months and fined £75,000 at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court.
The ban comes after he was found to be almost three times the legal alcohol limit when cops pulled his Range Rover over in London’s West End at 3am on February 18.
Highbury Corner Magistrates court heard how the 25-year-old had his T-shirt slashed and was robbed of his watch, diamond chains and bracelet when confronted by his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend and two other men.
The altercation allegedly took place over a £10,000 debt she owed to her former lover.
Speaking in court, Berahino said two of the men were armed – one with a knife and one with a gun – when they ambushed him at the VQ Cafe in Bloomsbury.
He claims he was chased down the road, tripped to the ground and his clothing slashed as his attackers demanded: “What you got for me?”
The footballer claims he told the trio to “just take everything”, before he got behind the wheel and drove off to escape them.
The former West Brom player said he did not clock a nearby police car that had been called to reports of a stabbing outside the bar.
Giving evidence at his drink driving trial, Berahino said: “I was scared of the guys who knew who I was and robbed me.
“They might just come back and find me in the same place where I was.”
Police attending the scene of the robbery pulled the footballer’s matte black Range Rover over in nearby Bedford Square after seeing him drive away from the restaurant and bar.
The Burundi-born striker failed a roadside breathalyser test, which found him to be three times over the limit.
He was found to have 103mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, where the legal limit is 35mg.
Asked whether it was “possible” the reading could be this high from just two drinks, the footballer reiterated to the court that he drank just “two mojitos” which were made up of “different alcohols – there’s not just one liquor.”
The court heard that there was “no dispute” of the robbery, which was caught in its entirety on CCTV.
The striker denied the drink drive charge against him, claiming he drove his vehicle out of necessity.
Speaking in court, he said: “I was scared. I had just been attacked and obviously my niece was there and I had to take action.
“I had to drive off from the scene.”
The footballer’s lawyer Garry Green, said: “The issue is whether or not this defendant had to drive his car as a necessity… the background being, and it is accepted by the prosecution, that he was robbed some minutes before.”
Since his arrest, Berahino had not played a game for Stoke.