FORMER Essex cricketer Mervyn Westfield has been charged with conspiracy to defraud following an investigating into betting irregularities during a match.

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FORMER Essex cricketer Mervyn Westfield has today been charged with conspiracy to defraud following an investigating into betting irregularities during a match.

The 22-year-old from Chelmsford was arrested in May along with team mate Danish Kaneria as part of an investigation into an Essex Pro40 win against Durham last September.

The allegations related to spot-fixing - a practice in which money is placed on individual details and passages of play during a match.

Pakistan leg-spinner Kaneria was cleared of the allegations earlier this month and has been released from bail without charge.

But the Crown Prosecution Service’s central fraud group has announced today that they have charged Westfield with conspiracy to defraud.

He has been bailed until September 23 when he will appear before City of London Magistrates’ Court

Antony Swift, reviewing lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “I have advised that Mervyn Westfield should be charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud for intentionally playing other than to the best of his ability, contrary to his contractual obligations.

“It is alleged that he dishonestly agreed to bowl his first over to allow the scoring of a certain number of runs at a match between Durham and Essex on 5 September 2009.

“I have made this decision after careful consideration of a file of evidence from Essex Police. There is sufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Westfield and it is in the public interest to do so.”

During the 40-over match under scrutiny Westfield conceded 60 runs in seven overs against Durham, with four wides and two no-balls.

It is understood that the police investigation, which started in March, was triggered by allegations from other players within the Essex team.

Westfield was charged this morning at Rayleigh Police Station

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