Ex-United midfielder sent to jail

 

The former Manchester United midfielder Ronnie Wallwork has been jailed for 15 months for selling on parts from stolen high-performance cars.

Police stumbled upon the illegal vehicle-breaking operation of Wallwork, 34, while investigating a string of unconnected armed robberies across Lancashire.

Wallwork, from Failsworth, Manchester, was working out of a rented scrapyard unit in Newton Heath when he was arrested last November.

It emerged he had sold a Volkswagen Touran engine and parts from a BMW 318i on eBay, while he was observed driving a Mazda Furano into the scrapyard three days after it was stolen from a car dealer. The three stolen vehicles he was linked to were worth more than £43,000 in total, Preston Crown Court heard.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of handling stolen goods at an earlier hearing. Sentencing him, Judge Simon Newell said he could not agree with the defence barrister's request to impose a suspended jail term.

He said: "These were high-value items that were stolen. It seems to me they were taken in a professional and sophisticated way. It also seems clear to me that they were taken to go into the black market either to be sold on or broken down and sold on.

"You provided the facility for that to happen. There was an element of organisation and sophistication in what went on."

Wearing a grey suit, Wallwork stared ahead blankly before he was led to the cells from the dock.

Wallwork, who represented England at under-20 level, joined United as a trainee in 1993 but struggled to command a first-team place and was loaned to a number of clubs before he joined West Bromwich Albion in 2002.

Loan periods at Bradford, Barnsley and Huddersfield followed before he moved to Sheffield Wednesday in 2008 where he made just seven appearances.

Rachel Woods, defending, said: "There was no evidence to suggest that the defendant was responsible for the organised thefts of the vehicles or had any input in that. These are not thefts to order. He was not using the garage to ring the vehicles through.

"He had clearly succumbed to temptation in a stage of his life when his finances had taken a dramatic turn for the worse."

She said that, until relatively recently, Wallwork had a "promising career" as a professional footballer but it was "tragically cut short" when he was the victim of a serious assault about four years ago.

Miss Woods said he nearly lost his life in the bar stabbing in which he suffered wounds to the back and stomach – for which his assailant received a five-and-a-half-year jail sentence.

"Mr Wallwork tried as best as he could to regain full fitness and resume his career but he was not able to fulfil the potential he had previously shown," she said. It sadly led to the termination of his career, she added. "Thereafter he has struggled to find a proper path to continue with his life," she said.

Wallwork had lost a lot of money in two failed businesses before he set up the initially legitimate concern from the 10 Arches scrapyard.

"By the end of 2010 he succumbed to temptation by purchasing three stolen cars which, in due course, were stripped and various items were sold on for a financial benefit," said Miss Woods.

Since admitting his crimes he had taken advantage of various services offered to him by the Professional Footballers' Association and had undergone counselling from which he had benefited.

She argued that it would not serve the public interest to jail a man of previous good character for what she said should be treated as "one-off offences".

From one of United's past players to undoubtedly one for the future, Phil Jones, who says he is more than happy to be shuffled around the side if it means the team keeps on winning.

The 19-year-old summer signing from Blackburn Rovers has produced some impressive performances this season despite being asked to play on the right or in the centre of defence and also in midfield.

"I enjoy playing anywhere. I enjoy playing football, so wherever I am asked to play I will play," he said. "I don't think it really matters at the moment that I am cementing a spot in a certain position because I am still young. Hopefully, as my career progresses that will happen."

Jones scored his first goal for the club in the weekend's 1-0 win at Aston Villa. "I'm delighted to score but it wasn't about the goal. It was about three points and I thought the lads did well."

News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone