Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Monday, 1 September 2008 18:25 UK

Police warn Toon owner over beer

Mike Ashley at the Emirates Stadium
Newcastle United say Mr Ashley thought the drink was non-alcoholic

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley was spoken to by police after he was seen by millions of TV viewers downing a pint in the stands, Scotland Yard said.

The billionaire "received words of advice" after cameras caught him sinking a pint of beer in less than 15 seconds at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium.

Police said a complaint was received from a member of the public during his team's 3-0 defeat on Saturday.

Newcastle United said Mr Ashley thought he was drinking non-alcoholic beer.

Premier League licensing laws prohibit the consumption of alcohol in view of the pitch.

Michael was offered a drink which he was told was non-alcoholic and he took it in good faith
Newcastle United

He was sitting with travelling supporters wearing a King Kev replica shirt when he was caught by television cameras.

The 45-year-old left five minutes before the end of the game.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "We received a complaint from a member of the public during the Arsenal v Newcastle Premier League match.

"Following this complaint a man received words of advice for consuming alcohol in a prohibited area."

A Newcastle United spokesman said: "Michael was offered a drink which he was told was non-alcoholic and he took it in good faith."

An Arsenal spokeswoman confirmed the stadium does not sell non-alcoholic beer.

She said: "In line with club policy, Mr Ashley was taken from his seat, at which time he was not in possession of alcohol, and into the concourse area of the stadium where he was spoken to and formally warned about his actions.

"If the respective supporter is not viewed first hand it is difficult to prove the contents of the container by watching television footage and as a consequence, we feel the action taken on Saturday was satisfactory and a proportionate response to the incident."

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