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Cheryl's up a mountain... but Ashley's up the creek

England footballer arrested on boys' night out while wife is away

The England and Chelsea footballer Ashley Cole has apologised to police after he was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly early yesterday and fined. The 28-year-old husband of the Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole was held for allegedly swearing at officers after a night out in London with his team-mates.

The left-back, who earns a reported £80,000 a week, was detained when he refused to curb his language as he left a club in South Kensington at 2.15am. He was taken to a police station and given a fixed-penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly, the standard penalty for which is an £80 fine, before being released.

"I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to the police officers on duty last night for my language," Cole said later in a statement on the official Chelsea FC website. "I felt I was being harassed by paparazzi and, while complaining to the police about this at the scene, they did warn me to calm down – a warning I regrettably did not heed."

The player insisted he was swearing in frustration at the photographers' behaviour and "would never disrespect police officers in anyway". He said that although he had drunk some alcohol, the amount was not "excessive".

"I take very seriously my responsibilities as a professional footballer, this incudes keeping my body in the best condition," he added.

Cole and Chelsea's first team squad attended a charity night on Wednesday at their Stamford Bridge ground. Later, he went to The Collection Bar with his captain, John Terry, and other players for a meal, leaving after the club closed.

Scotland Yard confirmed only that a "28-year-old man" was arrested at 2.15am on suspicion of drunkenness, fined and released just after 5.30am.

Cole's arrest came as his pop star wife was taken ill while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with other celebrities in aid of Comic Relief. An update on the Red Nose Day website said she was "ill in the night and had to have an anti-sickness jab", so would be taking the climb "slowly" today.