Ex-Spurs striker trashed his local Tesco and punched an employee to the floor

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard Chris Armstrong, 50, caused £2,000 of damage when he kicked down security scanners and assaulted store worker Alex Boatang.

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A former Spurs star has appeared at Westminster Magistrates' Court where he admitted common assault and criminal damage after he trashed his local Tesco and punched a worker to the floor after being told he couldn't buy cigarettes.

Chris Armstrong, 50, caused £2,000 of damage at the supermarket in Fulham Road, Chelsea, on July 18 last year.

Armstrong kicked over security scanners and punched employee Alex Boatang after staff said the shop was shut at 2.15am, the court heard.

Prosecutor Nathan Fuller said: "Officers were called to Tesco because of a report 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.

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

"When he was told he couldn't buy cigarettes he became aggressive."

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

Mr Boatang confronted Armstrong after the ex-striker damaged store property, telling him to stop.

The court heard Armstrong "turned and punched the worker in the face with a closed fist".

Mr Boatang fell to the floor and was kicked in the shin by the former footballer, causing him to suffer injuries including a grazed leg.

Mr Boatang was then taken to hospital to be checked over as Armstrong fled.

Chris Armstrong was detained by officers shortly afterwards.

Mr Armstrong's defence, McKenzie Webster, described the incident as an "impulsive and short-lived assault" and the former footballer did not realise the shop was closed.

McKenzie Webster said that Armstong had purchased cigarettes there for 14 years and knew the shop well.

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

Armstrong was granted bail ahead of sentencing at Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 1.