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Marseille woe: Robberies keep talent away

world Updated: Jul 16, 2011 00:09 IST

Marseille's efforts to shed its reputation as a crime capital have been dealt a blow with a warning from the city's football team that a spate of violent robberies of star players is making it difficult to attract top talent to the club.

The homes of players for Olympic Marseille, the Ligue 1 team and former French champions, have become a regular target for armed robberies, known as "home-jackings".

This week the Brazilian defender Vitorino Hilton was at his gated Marseille home with 10 family members when an armed gang of six broke in just before midnight.

They held the footballer's relatives hostage before hitting Hilton on the head with the butt of a gun several times and escaping with cash, jewellery, computers and designer bags.

Hilton told French radio station RMC:

“As I'd been hit on the head, I was bleeding a lot, [my children] panicked." He said his children were scared and wanted to go back to Brazil.