Anton Ferdinand faces arrest and custody

Anton Ferdinand faces being arrested and held in custody today after he failed to turn up for a court appearance.

The Sunderland defender was due to appear at Newcastle Magistrates' Court yesterday after being convicted of driving while using a mobile phone, but he never arrived and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Ferdinand, brother of England captain Rio, is facing a driving ban due to the fact he already had nine points on his licence when he was caught using the handset behind the wheel.

A spokesman for Northumbria Police confirmed the warrant without bail had been issued for the £6 million defender's arrest.

This means that when he is traced by officers he can be held in court cells before being produced to face magistrates.

The force spokesman said: "There has been no arrest at this stage. A warrant has been issued and we are aware."

The offence in question occurred on the morning of July 13 when Ferdinand was seen in his white Range Rover on Newcastle's Central Motorway.

He was travelling from his home at Baltic Quays in Gateshead to Newcastle International Airport, where he needed to catch a flight ahead of a pre-season friendly.