Wayne Rooney has helped convict a con man who had duped football fans out of thousands of pounds over the sale of fake sports memorabilia.
The Everton star and Manchester United legend helped the courts to convict David Rennie, 46, after he proved that the signature on one replica football shirt was not his and had, in fact, been copied by Mr Rennie instead.
The Daily Express understands that that Rennie, from Banbury, Oxfordshire, had swindled over £1m out of football supporters via his business and, after being found guilty of multiple offences, faces a long prison sentence.
Rennie was convicted of fraud by the prosecuting team at Bournemouth Crown Court after trade standard officers proved that he had bought his items from Sports Direct and signed them himself with a permanent marker.
Two victims of Rennie's fraudulent behaviour included a mother who paid him £300 for a Thierry Henry-signed jersey to cheer her son up after his father's passing, and another woman who paid £280 for a football that was thought to have been signed by 23 Liverpool players.
Judge Peter Crabtree told Rennie upon his conviction: "You have been convicted of extremely serious offences. The sentence is inevitably going to be a custodial one."
Man 'made more than £1 million selling fake football memorabilia', court hears. https://t.co/GeMgKikp5y— Back Four (@BackFourBP) January 12, 2018
Rennie had claimed that he had a team who would wait outside training grounds and get stars such as Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to sign memorabilia that would be sold on.
However, after a number of complaints to the trade standards commission, Rennie's FA Premier Signings company was busted in a police raid after he had conned 4,500 victims out of cash over a nine-year period.
(You may also be interested in Anthony Martial Sucked into Alexis Sanchez Saga as Arsenal Seek Replacement for Star)
Police raided his premises after an eight-month long investigation and found stacks of unsigned football shirts, footballs and boots, boxes of permanent markers and blank fake 'certificate of authenticity' cards.
Rennie also forewent paying tax on the money he accrued and even took around £10,000 spending money on a trip to Florida such was the profitable nature of his crime.
Rennie was granted bail after the four-day long trial and will be sentenced next month. His estranged wife Clare, 45, who already pleaded guilty to her part in the crime, will also be sentenced soon.