Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Thursday, 13 August 2009 18:07 UK

Footballer Defoe to sue police

Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe claims Essex Police kept him in custody for several hours

Tottenham Hotspur and England footballer Jermain Defoe is to start legal action against Essex Police for wrongful arrest and false imprisonment.

Mr Defoe's solicitor, Nick Freeman, said the footballer had authorised him to start proceedings relating to his arrest on 27 July.

Mr Defoe, 26, was stopped in his Range Rover and arrested on suspicion of driving while disqualified.

Essex Police said it was investigating the claims.

A statement from the force said: "Essex Police is conducting an internal investigation and is liaising with Mr Defoe's legal team to ascertain the details of his complaint.

"It would be inappropriate to comment any further at this time."

Police apology

According to Mr Freeman, the Spurs striker, who lives in Cuffley, Hertfordshire, was not disqualified at the time of his arrest.

He had previously been banned from driving but this ban was not in effect at the time, as it was pending appeal.

Mr Freeman claims that Essex Police kept Mr Defoe in custody for several hours before releasing him.

The BBC has seen a letter of apology addressed to Mr Defoe from the acting Deputy Chief Constable of Essex Police.

It contains a formal apology for the arrest and confirms that an internal investigation has been launched.

Nick Freeman added that his client was suing the police as a matter of principle, and that should he win, any money would be donated to charity.

The striker scored both goals for England in a 2-2 draw away to the Netherlands on Wednesday night.



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