File photo dated 06/03/19 of Stoke City forward Saido Berahino

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PA

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Saido Berahino is on trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court

Footballer Saido Berahino has been found guilty of drinking and driving.

The Stoke City striker was almost three times the alcohol limit when his Range Rover was stopped in London’s West End at about 03:00 GMT on 18 February.

Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court heard the 25-year-old was arrested minutes after being robbed.

Magistrates found he “was not in fear of death or fear of serious injury” before fining him £75,000 and banning him from driving for 30 months.

The court heard there was “no dispute” over the robbery, which was caught on CCTV, but defence lawyer Garry Green argued the crux of the case was “whether or not this defendant had to drive his car as a necessity”.

Previous convictions

Chair of the bench Mark Oxenham said Berahino’s girlfriend had driven the car immediately beforehand and “could have continued the journey away from the scene”.

The court was told the Burundi international had previous convictions for drinking and driving in 2015 and being drunk in charge of a vehicle in 2012.

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On the night of his arrest, police were called to reports of a possible stabbing involving seven people outside the VQ Cafe, in Great Russell Street.

Berahino, of Old Penkridge Road, Staffordshire was behind the wheel of the Range Rover when police stopped it in Bedford Square.

He was asked about the fight but said he had not seen anything, prosecutor Katie Weiss said.

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Burundi-born Berahino is due to feature in the Africa Cup of Nations this summer

PC Stephen Luu said the driver appeared “nervous” and he could “smell alcohol on his breath”.

Berahino was found to have 103mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath, the court heard. The legal limit is 35mg.

He told police he was robbed, while his girlfriend said she believed her ex-boyfriend had arranged for Berahino to be attacked, the court heard.

His watch and two diamond necklaces were stolen.

‘Jeopardise career’

Burundi-born Berahino, who joined Stoke from West Brom for an initial £12m fee in January 2017, is due to appear in the African Cup of Nations this summer but told the court he has not played since the incident.

“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,” he said.

“They had a knife and a gun as well.”

He said he did not immediately tell police about the robbery after they were called.

“In the past I have been in the media and I didn’t want anything to get out,” he said.

“It would jeopardise my career and I was scared of that.

“That was the last thing I wanted.”

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