Ex-Spurs star Chris Armstrong trashed store and punched Tesco worker in cigarettes row

Ex-Spurs star Chris Armstrong trashed store and punched Tesco worker in cigarettes row
Chris Armstrong admitted common assault and criminal damage when he appeared at Westminister Magistrates Court (Picture: Central News)

A former Tottenham Hotspur star trashed his local Tesco store and punched a worker after he was told he could not buy cigarettes, a court heard.

Chris Armstrong, 50, caused £2,000 worth of damage when he kicked scanners in the supermarket on Fulham Road, Chelsea on July 18.

The former striker ran amok and punched employee Alex Boatang after being told the shop was shut at 2.15am.

Armstrong admitted common assault and criminal damage when he appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

The court was told police were called to the supermarket following reports of ‘an aggressive and violent man smashing up the store’.

‘He gained access to the store by forcing his way through the door demanding cigarettes,’ prosecutor Nathan Fuller said.

‘The store was temporarily closed because the staff were taking a break.

‘When he was told he couldn’t buy cigarettes he became aggressive.’

Chris Armstrong of Tottenham Hotspur in action during the FA Carling Premiership match against Southampton at White Hart Lane in 1999.
Armstrong was a striker for Tottenham Hotspur in the 1990s (Picture: Getty Images)

Armstrong kicked over security scanners, a stand of baskets and damaged other property in the store.

Mr Boatang then tried to confront Armstrong, telling him to stop.

But Armstrong ‘turned and punched the worker in the face with a closed fist,’ said Mr Fuller.

Mr Boatang fell to the floor and was kicked in the shin by the former footballer.

He suffered injuries including a grazed leg and was taken to hospital to be checked over.

Armstrong fled the scene but he was detained by officers shortly afterwards.

Chris Armstrong at Westminster Magistrates court.
Armstrong was granted bail ahead of sentencing in March (Picture: Central News)

McKenzie Webster, defending, said the incident was an ‘impulsive and short-lived assault’.

She said the former striker did not realise the shop was closed as there was a problem with the locking mechanism so the doors were still partially open.

Ms Webster said Armstrong knew the shop well and had been buying cigarettes there for 14 years.

Armstrong, of Chelsea, was granted bail ahead of sentence at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on March 1.

Chair of the bench Alan Elias ordered probation reports but warned: ‘We do think the community order threshold has been passed.’

Born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Armstrong started his professional career at Wrexham in 1989 and played for Millwall before joining Crystal Palace.

After scoring 45 times for the Eagles he became Spurs’ most expensive signing at the time when he joined for £4.5m in 1995.

He earned an England call-up under Kevin Keegan, but only played one ‘B’ international and ended his career back at Wrexham in 2005.

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