Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll are among past and present West Ham players who have described how they were duped out of thousands of pounds by a luxury hamper scam.
The Daily Mirror reported that the pair, along with former Hammers boss Sam Allardyce and other West Ham stars such as Aaron Cresswell, had been duped by conman Stephen Ackerman over luxury 'champers and hampers' packages after the parcels failed to turn up at the club's training ground.
Ackerman, 48, is alleged to have swindled over £60,000 out of former and current West Ham stars by selling them cut-price hampers from retailers Harrods and Fortnum & Masons and using their bank details to steal vast sums of money from their accounts.
Ackerman is charged with making over £7,000 from 13 players and staff in December 2014 before plundering in excess of £54,000 from their bank accounts, the jury for the court case were told.
Allardyce, who was sacked as England manager for comments he made during a Daily Telegraph sting in September, gave evidence via videolink from Thailand to Snaresbrook Crown Court, before former West Ham defender Joey O'Brien became the first footballer to give his side of events on Wednesday morning.
Speaking at the hearing, O'Brien recounted how a 'salesman' had sold him a £1200 hamper on December 12, and paid for the package using a chip and pin machine.
Palace defender James Tomkins arrives at court to give evidence against alleged 'hampers and champers' conman Stephen Ackerman pic.twitter.com/e98mn28tLy— scott wilford (@wilford1) October 26, 2016
He said: "I got champagne and Christmas hampers. I spent £1,200 on them and I paid with a chip and pin machine.
"I hoped they would come a few days later. We were waiting for the stuff to arrive at the training ground. I never received them."
In the days that followed, Republic of Ireland international O'Brien recalled seeing unauthorised transactions of £750 leaving his account, and later told police that a 'fairly smart dressed, late-30s to mid-40s white male" had sold the hampers to all the players and staff.
Carroll, along with Nolan and current Crystal Palace defender James Tomkins, who was also a victim of Ackerman's plot, also gave evidence on Wednesday afternoon.
Ackerman, who is from Loughton, Essex, denies all 13 counts of fraud by misrepresentation and one count of possessing the chip and pin machine that it is claimed he used to steal the money.
Other charges against Ackerman include four counts of using bank cards fraudulently, and one count of possession of an article for use in fraud.
The trial continues.
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