Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Monday, 17 August 2009 18:00 UK

Defoe in police harassment claim

Jermain Defoe
Jermain Defoe said he would give any damages awarded to charity

England footballer Jermain Defoe has accused Essex Police of harassment for pulling him over days after he said he would sue them for wrongful arrest.

The 26-year-old Tottenham Hotspur player had been visiting his mother when his black Ferrari was pulled over by a traffic patrol.

Essex Police said the England forward was stopped as part of an operation to tackle the theft of valuable cars.

Mr Defoe's solicitor said the police had "serious questions to answer".

The footballer had travelled to see his mother after taking part in Tottenham's 2-1 win over Liverpool.

He was pulled over in Chigwell on Sunday evening, but was allowed to continue once identity checks had been made.

On Friday the sportsman announced he would sue Essex Police over his "wrongful" arrest in Harlow on 27 July on suspicion of driving while disqualified.

Mr Defoe was disqualified from driving after a speeding conviction earlier in July but the ban was suspended pending appeal.

Burglary crackdown

His solicitor Nick Freeman said: "At worst, it smacks of something far more sinister, which can only add weight to growing concerns that they are being vindictive and my client is being harassed."

Mr Freeman said: "Mr Defoe was stopped for no reason after leaving his mother's home.

"Coming as it does, just three days after announcing he is to claim damages from the same force, it leaves the police with some serious questions to answer."

Mr Defoe, who lives in Cuffley, Hertfordshire, said he would give any damages he was awarded from the legal action to charity.

An Essex Police spokesman said: "Police in the Epping Forest area have been running Operation Phobia, which is aimed at tackling domestic burglary in affluent areas, and the theft of high value cars.

"As part of that operation officers stopped a black Ferrari in Manor Road, Chigwell, at 2314 BST on Sunday.

"They satisfied themselves that all was in order with the car and driver, and it continued on its way."

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Footballer Defoe to sue police
13 Aug 09 |  England
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27 Jul 09 |  England
Defoe disqualified for speeding
10 Jul 09 |  England

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