Leicester players face club disciplinary action following police incident in McDonald's at 4am
Leicester Tigers may have made short work of Treviso in their pre-season encounter last weekend, but the late-night actions of several players in a McDonald's in the northern Italian city have left Richard Cockerill, the head coach, with an off-field headache as the new season approaches.
On Sunday it emerged that five Italian police patrols, including officers from Italy's military police the carabinieri, were sent to the fast-food outlet to deal with an incident involving Leicester players, shortly after the Tigers beat Treviso 33-10 at the Stadio Comunale di Monigo.
It is understood that staff at a branch of McDonald's in Silea, a small commune close to outskirts of Treviso, alerted police at 4am on Saturday August 20, after several Leicester players went behind the counter and helped themselves to food on their way back to their hotel from the nearby Club Casa di Caccia nightclub.
The players involved have not been named, but Leicester Tigers are believed to have taken disciplinary action against those involved.
According to an Italian police source, four members of the McDonald's staff said the players' actions had made them feel "extremely intimidated", forcing them to dial the Italian 112 emergency number.
"The Leicester players had been drinking after the match, and because there was a bit of a wait to get served [in McDonald's], it seems some of them went behind the counter and helped themselves," a police spokesman told the Sunday Times.
"When the carabinieri saw the situation, they asked us to intervene as well. When we got there, the bill was paid and we got them back on their bus.
"There was no physical aggression. When they saw our uniforms, they realised they had taken things too far and screwed their heads back on."
The incident is believed to have lasted for just under an hour, with the team returning to their hotel in central Treviso after being escorted back on to their team coach by the police.
The incident will come as an unwelcome hindrance to Cockerill's pre-season preparations, with the Tigers launching their league campaign at Gloucester on Friday night.
Commenting on the incident, a club spokesman said: "We are aware of an incident in Italy where the police were called. We operate a very strict code of conduct and where behaviour falls short of the standards demanded there are sanctions."