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Johnson claim girl's web 'distress'

The teenager at the centre of allegations that England footballer Adam Johnson had sex with an underage girl has been caused "distress" by rumour and speculation on social media, police have said.

The suspended Sunderland star was due to answer bail tomorrow but Durham Police have extended his bail for another five weeks while inquiries continue.

The 27-year-old was arrested at his mansion in leafy Castle Eden, County Durham, on March 2, following an allegation of sexual activity with a girl under 16.

He will answer bail at a local police station on April 23.

Gossip online about the case was causing hurt and could lead to prosecutions, the force said.

A police spokesman said: "Durham Constabulary is aware this investigation has resulted in considerable rumour and speculation, much of it on social media and in relation to the (alleged) victim.

"This has caused distress to the (alleged) victim and her family and is very unhelpful while we still have a number of actions to carry out as part of our inquiries.

"We stress again the warning we have already given, that anyone who publishes anything which may identify the victim of a sexual offence is committing a criminal act and will be dealt with accordingly."

Meanwhile, the force said no further action will be taken over an item recovered from the property at the time of Johnson's arrest which at the time was reported to be a weapon.

This has now been fully examined and confirmed to be an item which does not require a firearms certificate, the force said.

The winger, born in Sunderland, has represented his country 12 times and also played for Middlesbrough and Manchester City.

He cost the relegation-threatened Wearside club £10 million when they purchased him in 2012 and he has gone on to score 17 goals for them.

In a brief statement Sunderland said: "Following the decision by the police today, the club will be reviewing its position and will not make any further comment at the present time."


From Belfast Telegraph