Former Sheffield Wednesday player Phil King denies charges over building scam

FORMER Premiership footballer Phil King cashed cheques from victims of a criminal scam in which shoddy and overpriced work was done on people’s homes, a court was told yesterday.

The scam was allegedly carried out by two contractors, David Merriman and Trevor Bateman, who undertook building work that was said to be “poorly performed, overpriced or simply unnecessary”.

Their clients were often elderly women, some of whom lived alone, Oxford Crown Court heard.

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Cheques for thousands of pounds were made out to King, 43, who cashed them at the pub he runs in Swindon, The Dolphin Hotel, it was alleged.

The former Sheffield Wednesday, Aston Villa and Swindon Town player is charged with six counts of converting criminal property, while Merriman, 49, and Bateman, 54, between them face 29 counts of fraud, engaging in an unfair commercial practice, transferring criminal property and engaging in a commercial practice that was aggressive. All three men deny the charges against them.

Opening the prosecution case, Nigel Lickley QC described how Merriman and Bateman’s victims parted with vast sums after agreeing to escalating amounts of work being carried out by their building business, AS Contractors.

Their approach to business, he said, was characterised by cold-calling customers; often beginning on a relatively small job before the work escalated into something more major. The case continues.