GAMBLING IN BSP:HISTON PRESIDENT`S CAR WAS BLOWNUP
Histon team threatened by gambling ring
18 May 2009
HISTON Football Club's president's car was blown up and the club's players threatened with being shot by a gambling ring.
The shock revelations emerged after a gambling probe was launched into a match last year between the Stutes and Lewes FC.
Seven club officials were left terrified after they received gangland style threats including one to firebomb a female official's home.
The game is among at least four being investigated by football and gambling authorities for suspect betting patterns.
Last September, officials at the Blue Square Premier team received sinister telephone threats.
Club president Peter Betson had his car set on fire after a game against Lewes.
The threats surrounded the one-all draw between Histon and Lewes on September 23.
Histon chairman Gareth Baldwin said it was a "terrifying time" for the club.
He told the News that within 30 seconds of Lewes taking a surprise lead against favourites Histon, the first of 38 threatening phone calls were made to club officials.
The caller claimed to know where officials worked and lived, and even where their children went to school and warned of dire consequences if Histon did not win. A last-minute equaliser earned Histon a draw.
Then at just before 1am the following morning, a car belonging to Mr Betson exploded outside a college at Cambridge University, where he works as a night porter.
An hour later a female official received a call warning her to leave her house because it was about to be firebombed.
Further threats were received in the days following the game.
They included a warning that unless Histon paid £100,000 - which the caller claimed his group had lost - the team coach would be ambushed while travelling to or from a forthcoming game at Wrexham and everyone on board would be shot.
Mr Baldwin said: "There were over 38 threatening calls made to club officials over several days.
"But the worst thing was when the president's car was blown up just six hours after the match. He was left totally shocked and terrified. The car was totally destroyed. It exploded.
"Our club's secretary got a call that her home was about to be petrol bombed and that she should get out right away.
"It all got very heavy and it was a terrifying time for the club. We have never had to deal with anything like that before and hopefully we never will again."
A Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman told the News: "I am able to confirm that threats were made on September 23 and that a car was set on fire outside a Cambridge University college the following day which is being treated as arson.
"The threats came from the Merseyside area and the investigation into the threats has been handed over to Merseyside Police."
Phone clue in hunt for gambling ring
A THUG failed to block the phone number he used when he threatened to shoot Histon FC's players.
Detectives are investigating 38 threats made to seven club officials after the president's car was blown up.
Cambridgeshire police have today appealed to anyone with information about the attack to contact officers.
And Merseyside police are investigating the threats, believed to be from a gambling ring.
They have been given the phone number used by the man who made the calls - and a description of his voice.
Histon chairman Gareth Baldwin said: "There were a number of threats made but strangely the caller did not even block the number and we gave it to police along with a description of the man's voice, which was a Liverpool accent. The calls came from the Merseyside area.
"This was an awful time for the club. We just couldn't believe it was happening."
A gambling probe was launched into a match last year between the Stutes and Lewes FC.
The officials received "terrifying" gangland threats and on one occasion the caller threatened to "petrol bomb" a female official's home and told her she should get out of her house.
And club president Peter Betson's car exploded outside a college in Cambridge six hours after the game between Histon and Lewes on September 23. A Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman said: "There has been no evidential link established between the threats and the arson attack on the car.
"We would appeal for anyone with information about the arson to contact police."
Some 30 seconds after Lewes scored against favourites Histon, the first of the phone calls was made to club officials.
The caller claimed to know where officials worked and lived and even where their children went to school.
They included a warning that unless Histon paid £100,000, the team coach would be ambushed while travelling to or from a forthcoming game at Wrexham and everyone on board would be shot.
Merseyside Police have said the threats are part of an ongoing investigation but were unable to confirm a man had been arrested.
The game against Lewes is among at least four being investigated by football and gambling authorities for suspect betting patterns.
A spokesman for the Football Association said: "Anything which interferes with the integrity of football is of great concern to us. We would do everything in our power to assist other bodies in addressing that."
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