An England footballer was at the center of a £30,000 blackmail plot during the lockdown after he bedded a transgender escort.
The Premier League star contacted the pre-op woman after finding her glamorous profile on an escorting website.
He went to her rented city center flat on several occasions and paid her £150 for in April last year.
The player, a household name, though the illegal encounters would be kept secret.
But the escort secretly recorded her, saved her text messages, and photographed her in her car outside her £1,000-a-month property.
He used the evidence against him to demand cash and the player stumped up £30,000.
He eventually went to the police and the surgically enhanced woman was arrested last June on suspicion of blackmail and questioned about the relationship.
But the investigation was left on file after the player refused to give a statement.
The Sun understands his club was made aware of the allegations after concerns were raised about his lifestyle and whether it was a factor in his poor performances.
A source said: “No one knows if the player knew the woman was transgender, but was desperate to keep it quiet when she threatened to expose him.
“He handed over the cash on a few occasions before realizing that the only way to sop the situation was to go to the police. He was keen to gather evidence as blackmail is a serious offense.
“But the footballer was worried that his name would come out and he would be abused by the fans because of it.
“He just wanted to bury her so, despite the officers’ efforts, he refused to cooperate, leading them to investigate the blackmail scheme without any victims.
“They also needed to see her mobile phone messages and bank transfers, so they had no choice but to reluctantly drop the case.”
The unnamed player is not the first Premier League player to be blackmailed about his life.
In 2019, a footballer jumped from a hotel window in just his pants after two men burst into the hotel room where he was in bed with Natalie Wood.
Wood, 28, of Cleethorpes, Lancs, was later given a suspended prison sentence after admitting attempted blackmail – conspiring to sell footage of the affair as a kiss-and-tell.