England star Jermain Defoe is suing the police after his "wrongful" arrest on suspicion of driving while disqualified, his lawyer said.
The Tottenham striker was held for several hours at a police station in Harlow, Essex, at the end of last month. Essex Police said they had already apologised for their mistake, which they blamed on a computer inputting error, but the 26-year-old striker, who scored twice for England against Holland on Wednesday, said he would donate any damages awarded to charity.
His solicitor, Nick Freeman, known as Mr Loophole owing to his success in getting cases against drivers dropped, said: "The claim arises out of Mr Defoe's wrongful arrest for driving whilst disqualified last month. At the time the police were advised by Mr Defoe, and on no less than five occasions by my office, that Mr Defoe was not disqualified and that his detention was unlawful."
Freeman added: "Notwithstanding this, he remained incarcerated in a police cell for approximately five hours until Chelmsford Magistrates' Court confirmed our assertion that he was not disqualified.
"The problem arose as the consequence of an inputting error by Essex Police, which they have admitted and apologised for. This was compounded by their failure to accept our protestations that he was not disqualified.
"The police should have bailed Mr Defoe when they were put on notice of their error to enable them to pursue their inquiries.
"Instead, in addition to being locked in a cell, the police were unable to recall where his car had been impounded and were not prepared to return his car keys (which also contained house keys) until he produced documentation to his vehicle.
"This claim is about principle and not about money. Any damages my client is awarded will be donated to charity."
An Essex Police spokesman said: "We've formally apologised, acknowledging our mistake, which was due to an inputting error.
"An internal investigation is under way to determine why this error occurred and to ensure that a similar mistake is not repeated in the future."
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