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Footballer Dwight Yorke chased and caught a mugger after being robbed of his £36,000 watch, a court has heard.

The Birmingham City striker was allegedly attacked by three men in the toilets of London nightclub Funky Buddha on 30 June last year.

Students Maiur Hirani, 25, of Kenton, north-west London, and Abbas Rizvi, 24, of Edgware, north London, denied robbery at Southwark Crown Court.

A third man, Godfrey Kessie, 25, admitted robbery an earlier hearing.

Christine Agnew, prosecuting, said the two students and Kessie, who runs a bodyguard firm, took part in a "joint" enterprise.

She told the court Mr Yorke, 33, had spent several hours in the club's VIP area when he decided to go to the toilet.

Kessie, it seems, became aggressive and started pushing Mr Yorke towards a cubicle Christine Agnew, prosecuting
There a man asked him for his diamond-encrusted watch.

It was then the footballer spotted Mr Rizvi and told him, "have a word with your friend", the barrister said.

Ms Agnew told the court: "At that stage Kessie, it seems, became aggressive and started pushing Mr Yorke towards a cubicle.

"Mr Yorke, on seeing Mr Kessie had placed his hand inside his jacket, feared he may have had a weapon and handed the watch to Kessie."

Maiur Jirani and Rizvi Abbas arrive at Southwark Crown Court
Maiur Jirani (l) and Rizvi Abbas deny the charges

Mr Kessie then asked for the footballer's necklace, but Mr Yorke refused, the barrister said.

Moments later, the two men and Mr Hirani, allegedly the gang's "look-out", ran away.

The £30,000-a-week player chased them outside followed by doormen and photographers, the barrister said.

She said the trio split up, but Mr Yorke cornered Mr Kessie at Green Park Tube station where his Franck Muller Conquistador King watch was returned.

Homes raided

Mr Kessie of Wood Green, north London, was arrested and later pleaded guilty to robbery.

On 21 July, police carried out a raid at Mr Rizvi's home.

Ms Agnew said Mr Rizvi said he had witnessed an "altercation" between Mr Kessie and the footballer but he played no part in the robbery.

Mr Hirani, who was arrested later the same day, denied he had been sitting outside the toilets and said he only knew about the robbery about it in the newspapers.

The player is expected to give evidence on Tuesday. The trial continues.
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