British fan recovers luxury watch after Paris Champions League mayhem

A British fan robbed of his watch in the crowd chaos at the Champions League football final in Paris in May has been reunited with the timepiece after it was found by police, prosecutors said on Thursday.

British fan recovers luxury watch after Paris Champions League mayhem
Chaos at the Champions League final at Stade de France in Paris. Photo by Thomas COEX / AFP

The Breitling watch worth several thousand euros was among several items recovered from a suspected thief who was arrested during the fiasco that marred the match between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

As fans massed at the Stade de France stadium just north of Paris, organisers kept thousands out because of suspected fake tickets, creating bottlenecks at entry gates that prompted police to fire tear gas and pepper spray.

After the game, supporters were preyed on by robbers as they made their way to local transport connections, with many reporting pickpocketing, muggings and threats.

“In one operation on the night of the final, several objects that clearly had been stolen were seized. Investigators were able to identify the owner of a luxury watch,” prosecutor Eric Mathais in the Paris suburb of Bobigny said on Twitter.

“Contact was established with him and, during a visit to France, he was able to recover his watch at the Bobigny courthouse on Tuesday,” he said.

Around 240 complaints have been filed with police over the violence, which sparked concerns over the French authorities’ ability to ensure security at two major upcoming events, the Rugby World Cup next year and the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“I’m hopeful that some of the perpetrators of these aggravated robberies will be identified and judged,” Mathais said.

An enquiry by the French Senate into the mayhem concluded last month that organisers were to blame, not supporters, undermining claims by the police and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.

Paris police chief Didier Lallememt has since been replaced.

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Huge fire destroys warehouse at giant Paris market

A major blaze swept through part of one of the world's biggest fresh produce markets on the outskirts of Paris on Sunday. 

Huge fire destroys warehouse at giant Paris market

 The fire destroyed a fruit and vegetable warehouse at the Rungis complex to the south of the French capital.

Flames spread shortly after noon, the authorities said, sending a dark plume of smoke billowing over the southern suburbs.

A hundred firefighters brought the fire under control by mid-afternoon and there were no injuries, the fire brigade said.

The warehouse, about the size of a football pitch, belonged to Les Halles Mandar group.

Firefighters work to put out a fire in a building at the “Rungis International Market” wholesale food market in Rungis, south of Paris. Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP

“It’s a shock, but we’re glad there were no injuries”, boss Shaoul Abramczyk said.

“We will not be able to fulfil our partners’ orders from Monday and for several days”, he added.

“When a market operator is the victim of a tragedy of this nature, the whole market is struck at its heart”, Rungis market head Stephane Layani said.