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FOOTBALL

Marseille tighten security after player burglaries

Marseille have set up security patrols outside the homes of their players after defender Vitorino Hilton became the latest victim of burglaries targeting the club's playing staff.

The 33-year-old Brazilian centre-back was at home with 10 members of his family on Tuesday evening when a six-strong gang of armed men broke in shortly before midnight.

The masked intruders restrained those inside the property and escaped with cash and valuables including cameras, computers and jewels.

Hilton was slightly injured in the incident after being struck with a gun butt but did not require hospital treatment.

“Olympique Marseille can no longer tolerate and accept that some of their players should be victims of ‘home-jacking’,” read a club statement released on Wednesday.

“The club, which guarantees their safety in the context of their profession, now seeks to extend that protection to their private lives.”

Marseille added that security patrols outside their players’ properties would start “from tonight (Wednesday)”.

Hilton is the latest in a growing list of Marseille players to have been targeted by armed robbers.

Argentine playmaker Lucho Gonzalez, one of the highest-paid footballers in France, was reportedly left traumatised after an armed gang attacked him and his family at his home in Aix-en-Provence in March.

“These are terrible things that can happen and which, from a psychological perspective, are traumatising,” said OM coach Didier Deschamps at the time.

The home shared by Ghanaian brothers Andre and Jordan Ayew has been burgled twice, in November 2010 and May this year.

Other Marseille players, past and present, to have been victims of burglary include Stephane Mbia, Andre-Pierre Gignac, Mamadou Niang, Habib Beye and Fabien Barthez, as well as former president Jean-Claude Dassier.

Marseille sporting director Jose Anigo said that the spate of burglaries was putting off potential new signings.

“Every time I signed a player this year, the first questions they asked were: ‘Can you guarantee security?’, ‘Are my family at risk?'” Anigo said during a press conference.

“Bringing players to OM in those conditions is complicated. You have to be a magician.”

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CRIME

French police seize 2.4 tonnes of cannabis near Bordeaux

France’s Economy Minister has praised the work of Bordeaux law officers, after they seized more than 2.4 tonnes of cannabis resin with an estimated street value in excess of €19 million.

French police seize 2.4 tonnes of cannabis near Bordeaux

Bruno Le Maire and Minister Delegate in charge of Public Accounts Gabriel Attal in a joint statement: “Once again, Customs distinguished itself with an exceptional seizure of cannabis, recalling its key role in the fight against drug trafficking. We congratulate the customs officers for their daily commitment to the protection of our fellow citizens.”

Two people were taken into custody after officers stopped a lorry from Spain on the A63, near the Saugnac-et-Muret toll area, just south of Bordeaux, on Monday.

According to Le Figaro, the drugs were hidden in side compartments of the lorry, and concealed by its stated load of wheat, and were discovered by a sniffer dog during the stop.

In total, 2,414.8kg of cannabis resin and 9.75kg of cannabis herb were intercepted by the Bordeaux brigade, with an estimated value of more than €19 million on the illicit market.

Since the end of July, 2022, Customs officials have seized nearly 73 tonnes of drugs, including 41.2 tonnes of cannabis.

The French drugs squad is now investigating to determine the point of origin of the drugs, as well as their destination and the crime network behind the smuggling attempt.

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