West Brom quartet Gareth Barry, Jonny Evans, Boaz Myhill and Jake Livermore are set to escape formal prosecution over their alleged theft of a taxi outside a McDonald's during a Baggies training camp in Spain last week.
That is because the case against them has been dropped over what has been described as a 'lack of proof', despite the four senior players owning up and apologising for their action with a joint public statement issued by the club on Friday evening.
The incident took place in the early hours of Thursday morning, with the Baggies stars later named in a police report after stealing a taxi parked outside the fast food eatery and driving it back to the team hotel where the vehicle was simply abandoned.
The players had broken a curfew, seemingly to sneak out of the hotel and experience local night life, but wound up visiting a McDonald's in the taxi in question at 5.30am. With the driver out of the vehicle and unaware, the players 'borrowed' the car and drove away, leaving him stranded.
"We felt it important we identify ourselves as the players involved in an incident which occurred during the training camp in Spain this week out of respect for team-mates who otherwise could be implicated by association," Barry, 36, Evans, 30, Myhill ,30, and Livermore, 28, had said.
But now, a report from Daily Mirror explains that a Barcelona court handling the complaint have shelved the case over a lack of evidence. The players had faced possible fines or community service orders for their offences, but the driver has chosen to drop the charges instead.
As a result, the local police force are not going ahead with the case. It has therefore been 'provisionally archived', although it could be reopened in the future.
A 'well placed' source told the Mirror, "This decision signals the taxi driver decided against pressing charges. If he had decided to press charges, the case would have been continued. Without him on board, the police are never going to insist on the players being prosecuted off their own backs.
"Something must have happened for the taxi driver to decide to drop his complaint. He was the one who got the McDonald's staff to call police in the first place when he realised his taxi had gone."