Athlete arrested at airport

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The Independent Online

Mark Lews-Francis, the sprinter who won a silver medal at the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Vienna, returned to Britain last night to be met by police who arrested him on motoring charges.

The teenager, considered to be one of Britain's most promising athletes, was detained at Birmingham airport after failing to appear before magistrates last Wednesday for alleged driving offences. A West Midlands Police spokesman said a 19-year-old man had been arrested on a warrant issued by Wolverhampton magistrates' court last week.

Mr Lewis-Francis, of Darlaston, West Midlands, is accused of driving without a licence, having no insurance or test certificate, and failing to produce relevant documents. He also faces a further charge of failing to comply with a red traffic signal.

Court officers had agreed to let Mr Lewis-Francis remain in Vienna for the championships, allowing him to take second place in Sunday's 60 metres final behind his team-mate, Jason Gardener. Mr Lewis-Francis, who runs for Birchfield Harriers, won the 100m gold at the European Junior Championships and has run the distance in 9.97 seconds.