Probe into alleged abuse by Hammers star

A NOTORIOUS former Norwich City footballer is being investigated today after he allegedly abused a fan in the family enclosure at Portman Road last night.

Anthony Bond

A NOTORIOUS former Norwich City footballer is being investigated today after he allegedly abused a fan in the family enclosure at Portman Road last night.

It is alleged that as West Ham player Craig Bellamy, 29, walked towards the tunnel, after pulling up with an injury, he swore at a fan and made reference to Ipswich prostitutes.

He was restrained and pulled away by a member of staff from West Ham during the pre-season friendly with Ipswich Town.

Lowestoft resident Deryck Ayers, who was at the game with his 6-year-old daughter Imogen, claims it him who Bellamy was swearing at.

He said: “With him being an ex-Norwich player I shouted 'see you later Bellamy' and he just turned around and swore at me and he said something about prostitutes in Ipswich.

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“He was not very nice. I was shocked because I had my daughter there and there were other kids around in the same area.”

Stowmarket resident Kyle Relf-Stables, 14, also heard the abuse. “I heard him swear and say something about Ipswich prostitutes. I think that it was atrocious because young kids where there, he said it in front of the family stand.”

Kyle's mum, Michelle, who also had her 10-year-old son at the game, added: “I was just absolutely gobsmacked, there is no need to behave like that. We pay lots of money to come to these games and I do not expect my son's to hear words like that. I will take it up with the football club.”

Pc Mark Norman, Suffolk police's football intelligence officer, said: “Both Ipswich Town and West Ham are aware of an alleged incident that is being investigated internally. If a criminal offence is identified then we will take things further.”

Terry Baxter, director of communications at Ipswich Town, added: “We are aware of an alleged incident involving Craig Bellamy and we will be giving every assistance required by Suffolk police in their investigations of the matter.”

A West Ham United spokesman said: “We will look into the facts of what happened.

“I haven't had a chance to speak to Craig myself. I was made aware of it after the game as I was in the players tunnel. An official from Ipswich made me aware something had happened. We take such allegations seriously.

“I haven't spoken to anyone to find out what was allegedly said.”

The West Ham player made 84 appearances for Norwich City between 1997 and 2000, scoring 32 goals. Last night's pre-season friendly finished Ipswich Town 3 West Ham 5.