No smoke without fired: Blues youngster kicked out over grenade prank

CHELSEA have sacked young midfielder Jacob Mellis after he admitted setting off a smoke grenade at the club’s Cobham training ground.

The 21-year-old, who made his senior debut for the Blues last season in a Champions League clash, took part in the prank earlier this month.

His reserve team-mate Billy Clifford, who is thought to have taken the grenade to training, escaped the axe but has been fined.

It comes a year after England and Chelsea defender Ashley Cole accidentally shot a work experience student with an air rifle at the same ground in Surrey.

Cole was not charged following a police investigation into the incident, which attracted unwanted headlines around the world.

Mellis’s departure comes five years after he moved to Stamford Bridge from Sheffield United. He appeared as a substitute in a 2-1 win over Zilina in November 2010 but has not played for the first-team since.

The smoke grenade, understood to be from a paintballing trip, is thought to have been set off in the reserve team dressing room on the morning of 2 March. Fire marshals were summoned and the complex evacuated as thick smoke engulfed the building, triggering alarms and causing staff to flee.

Cole’s unwitting shooting of sports science student Tom Cowan left the 21-year-old with a bleeding wound which was treated by Chelsea doctors.

The .22 calibre air rifle brandished by the left-back is the most powerful gun that can be owned in Britain without a licence.

In a separate scare late last year a knife was found in one of the training ground’s dressing rooms, although it was thought to have been left by a builder.

THE RUN-IN | REMAINING FIXTURES AFTER TONIGHT

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