Two crooked businessmen who pocketed football fan’s money by stripping a professional club of its gate receipts during an elaborate scam have been jailed.

Stephen Murrall, 49, and Peter Harris, 47, were trying to convince the Football League that they were ‘fit and proper persons’ to take over struggling Hartlepool United.

But a court heard how £42,453 in gate receipts from two home games went into the pair’s company but quickly disappeared.

When the league made enquiries the entrepreneurs did not have the money to repay the debt.

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