Former Sunderland footballer Adam Johnson was said to have been accessing the internet from inside prison in order to manage a fantasy football team, according to reports on Sunday. The ex-England international is currently serving a six-year prison sentence for one count of child grooming as well as one of sexual activity with a child.
Though inmates are prohibited from accessing the internet inside prisons, the Sun on Sunday alleges that Johnson is participating in the online game, Fantasy Football, in which players manage their own fictional team, earning points on the basis of players' real-life performances. As part of the game, 'managers' are able to compete against the teams of friends by joining a league together.
The newspaper claims that Johnson is part of a competition called the "Demon's League" with his team "Bronson's11" which it says is a reference to the man known as "Britain's most dangerous prisoner," Charles Bronson. "11" apparently refers to Johnson's own number, during his days as a player.
Other teams within the same league are thought to be registered to the goalkeeper of Johnson's former club, Sunderland, Simon Pickford. Sheffield Wednesday, and former Sunderland striker, Steven Fletcher is also said to be involved, as is West Ham press officer Adam Capper, who worked as Sunderland's media officer up until December last year and at the time of Johnson's conviction some months earlier.
The report does not state whether the other 'managers' in the league are active Fantasy Footballer players, or whether they communicate or associate with Johnson via the game.
With the newspaper alleging activity on the account as recently as a month ago, Her Majesty's Prison Service found itself under fire again for this latest in a long line of recent security breaches as the service struggles to cope under the strain of huge cuts to staff. However, a spokesperson for the service told The Sun: "There is no evidence to suggest this account is being run from inside prison.
"Prisoners do not have access to the internet and we will always push for the strongest possible punishment for those who break the rules."