Manchester United star Romelu Lukaku has become the latest victim of thieves targeting luxury cars at Britain’s third largest airport.
The £75m striker, 24, lost a key fob belonging to his £250,000 Rolls Royce Ghost after it was snatched from his Mercedes which had been parked near Terminal 1 at Manchester.
Police found the fob to the black and white 155mph supercar along with two United season tickets belonging to two fans when they arrested a teenager for stealing from other cars.
The raid on Lukaka’s Merc occurred just days after 130 car keys and four vehicles were stolen from a ”meet and greet” parking firm used by Manchester Airport passengers.
The footballer is thought to have parked his vehicle at the airport to fly out to his native Belgium after playing in United’s 2-0 victory over Leicester on August 26.
It is not known whether he used the ”meet and greet” service.
Details emerged at Manchester magistrates court where aspiring PE teacher Kelsey Winder, 18, admitted handing stolen goods.
He also pleaded guilty to theft from a motor vehicle, going equipped for theft with a torch and hat and gloves and having a folding lock knife.
Prosecuting, Steve Woodman said: “In the early hours of the morning, at around 2am police are informed of two males who appear to be trying car doors in Wythenshawe.
“At 2.05am they see two males in that location and they start to walk away and the defendant is detained.
“On being detained he is searched and two credit cards are found belonging to another man and a further search reveals he is carrying a torch, a hat and gloves which the crown say equipped him for the theft.
”When searched more they found two Manchester United season tickets and a key fob belonging to a Rolls Royce which when traced was found to be the keys of footballer Romelu Lukaku.
“The footballer had driven to Manchester Airport on the 26th of August in a Mercedes and the Rolls Royce fob had been inside that Mercedes – that Mercedes had been broken into and the key fob was stolen.”
Winder was interviewed by police but gave no comment. It is not known who broke into the footballer’s car.
Winder’s lawyer Helen Sechiari said: “The route of the problem is that he has fallen out with his mother because of his use of cannabis. She kicked him out and in a sense he has acted out in this way.
“He is due to go back to college where he is doing a sports course, he has 13 GCSE’s and aspires to become a PE teacher. Last night when he was received into custody he told me his mum wants him home and so does he.
“His parents have recently split up and he has been caught up in the middle of it being the second eldest of eight children.”
Winder, from Wythenshawe, was ordered to complete a 12 month community order plus 150 hours of unpaid work and he will be ordered to abide by a curfew between the hours of 8pm and 6am.
JPs told him: “You need to know how close you were to going to prison and the reason for that is because of your lack of maturity and because of your lack of previous convictions we are going to reduce the sentence to a community order.
“This is your last chance.”
In a Facebook post after the case Winder said: ”last few months I’ve been in a pretty bad place – not had the best of life but time to turn it all round.
“Nice to see myself back on good terms with my mum and dad. I love yous both obv – but been quite hard to express that coz not really had anyone there.
“Times r changing I’m changing. Lets hope for the best.”