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Snooker players held in betting probe

Two snooker players were detained by police today over alleged irregular betting patterns during a UK championship match.

Stephen Maguire, 28, and Jamie Burnett, 33, were helping Strathclyde Police with their inquiries in connection with the outcome of the game in Telford on December 15 last year.

The investigation relates to the result of a UK Championship match between Maguire and Burnett, who are both Scottish.

A Strathclyde Police spokesman said: "Our economic crime unit can confirm that two men, aged 28 and 33, have been detained and are assisting Strathclyde Police with their inquiries into the alleged irregular betting pattern associated with the snooker match involving Stephen Maguire and Jamie Burnett.

The first-round match, which was subject to investigations by World Snooker and the Gambling Commission, was won 9-3 by Maguire.

Maguire beat his fellow Scot after Burnett failed to pot a black ball that would have reduced his arrears to 8-4.

Before the match, World Snooker was contacted by bookmakers reporting suspicious betting patterns on the outcome.

They said there was heavy gambling on a 9-3 scoreline - provoking suspicion from bookmakers.

Both men strenously denied any wrongdoing, and have pledged to co-operate with any investigations.