Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Wayne Rooney's father bailed in betting probe

Wayne Rooney's father was bailed pending further inquiries tonight after being arrested over an alleged football betting scam.

Wayne Rooney Snr, 48, was held earlier today when police swooped at his home in Liverpool.

Eight other people, including the Manchester United star's uncle, Richie, 54, and Liverpool-born Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings, 26, were also arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud.

Merseyside Police said the arrests were the culmination of a joint operation with the Gambling Commission into "suspicious betting activity".

The investigation relates to a match between Motherwell and Hearts on December 14 last year, the force added.

During the game Jennings was shown a red card in the 83rd minute of his side's 2-1 defeat.

The midfielder had been booked earlier in the match for fouling Kevin Kyle as Hearts launched a dangerous break.

The Gambling Commission, an independent body which was formed under the 2005 Gambling Act, began the probe shortly afterwards when some members of the Association of British Bookmakers publicly raised concerns about betting patterns on the game.

Jennings, originally from Kirkby, near Liverpool, has been a key player for Motherwell since joining from Tranmere in the summer of 2009 and signed his third one-year contract at Fir Park in July.

The club is currently second in the Scottish Premier League.

In a statement, Scottish Football Association chief executive Stewart Regan said the arrests follow "extensive inquiries" into alleged betting irregularities at the match.

Mr Regan said: "It is important to stress that the evidence gathered throughout this thorough period of investigation has involved only one Scottish match.

"Motherwell FC are aware of the situation and will issue a response in due course.

"The Scottish FA will make no further comment at this stage."

Merseyside Police added: "Detectives today executed warrants at 10 addresses in Merseyside and Glasgow and arrested nine men as part of an investigation into suspicious betting activity.

"The arrests are the culmination of a joint operation with the Gambling Commission and the nine have been arrested for conspiracy to defraud.

"The investigation relates to a match between Motherwell and Hearts on December 14, 2010."

Richie Rooney, who was detained at his home in Liverpool, was also bailed pending further inquiries, as were a 22-year-old from Kirkdale, and a 26-year-old from Croxteth.

Jennings, who was arrested at his Glasgow home and brought to a Merseyside police station for questioning, remains in custody along with a 29-year-old from Bootle, a 31-year-old from Litherland, a 68-year-old from Fazakerley, and a 36-year-old from Kirkby.

A statement released by Motherwell Football Club said: "Motherwell Football Club can today confirm that the Scottish Football Association (SFA) made the club aware that one of our players was taken to a Merseyside police station early this morning in connection with an ongoing investigation.

"We have no further comment to make at this time. Any further statement would be wholly inappropriate and the club can and will only do so when properly appraised of the next steps in the process by the relevant authorities."