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Last Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007, 17:24 GMT
Woodgate testifies in drugs trial
Jonathan Woodgate
Mr Woodgate said he often handed out cash to academy players
A young footballer has been cleared of drug dealing after a trial in which England defender Jonathan Woodgate was called as a witness.

Middlesbrough Academy player Lewis Walker was arrested when 25,000 of cannabis was found in his room.

Mr Woodgate told Teesside Crown Court he had given the 17-year-old 100 to buy drinks in Yarm's Tall Trees club

The boy's mother, of Kirkstone Road, was found guilty of possession with intent to supply cocaine.

I remember a specific time I gave him 100 - I will probably have said 'go and get yourself a drink'
Jonathan Woodgate

Tracey Walker, 37, had already admitted possession of cannabis with intent to supply.

Mr Woodgate told Teesside Crown Court that he saw his teenage colleague in Tall Trees in October.

The Middlesbrough player said he often handed out cash to academy players because he felt he was now in a privileged position and felt able to help.

He said: "I remember a specific time I gave him 100. I will probably have said 'go and get yourself a drink'.

"If you give someone 100, they can do what they like with it. I know what it's like to be a YTS player. I'm in a privileged position (now) - which I've worked hard to get."

Loft room

The cash was found the next day by police among almost 2,000 in the youngster's bedroom at his mother's home in Berwick Hills, Middlesbrough.

Officers also found cannabis in his loft room, and cocaine worth 370 in his mother's bedroom, the court was told.

After two hours of deliberations, the youth player was acquitted of a charge of possession with intent to supply cannabis.

His mother had told the court that two men came round the night before the police raid, when her son was out, and forced her to keep the drugs for them overnight.

She was released on bail and will be sentenced at a later date.



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