Ex-West Ham player Kevin Nolan 'inadvertent middle man in Christmas hamper scam'


Former Premier League footballer Kevin Nolan was an inadvertent "middle man" in a Christmas hamper con in which West Ham players and staff lost thousands of pounds, a court has heard.

The ex-West Ham midfielder told Snaresbrook Crown Court he had been passed the details of a hamper salesman called "Mark Kingston" by a nightclub manager friend of his.

The 34-year-old paid £920 for two Harrods hampers and 25 bottles of champagne which he never received.

Stephen Ackerman, 48, is accused of defrauding potential England football manager Sam Allardyce and 12 other former and current West Ham players and staff, including England striker Andy Carroll, out of thousands of pounds by selling them hampers which were never delivered.

Ackerman, of Loughton, Essex, denies 18 fraud charges, with the proceeds amounting to a total of around £61,560.

It is alleged he appeared at the club's training ground on December 12 2014 using the alias Mark Kingston.

Nolan, who was West Ham captain at the time, told the court he was given the details of Mr Kingston by Scott Cummings, who runs the Club 195 bar in Epping.

He said: "He made me aware of him and I passed his details on to (player liaison officer) Tim De'Ath. It was a fella called Mark.

"Basically, it was just that Mark sold luxury hampers and he would like to come into the training ground - that's something which is quite common in our place, round Christmas time we have a lot of people come in."

Asked by prosecutor Richard Milne if he was a "sort of a middle man", Nolan replied: "Yes".