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Former Essex cricketer Tony Palladino believes that corruption is rife in English county cricket.

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The 28-year-old blew the whistle on 23-year-old team-mate Mervyn Westfield for spot-fixing in Essex’s game at Durham in September 2009.

Westfield now faces up to seven years in jail after pleading guilty to accepting the bung, but Palladino believes there are others guilty of it.

“You’d be a fool to think spot-betting wasn’t happening at Essex before, and at other counties. It must have been,” he said.

“They’ve chosen county cricket because it’s not as high profile as international cricket.

“What worries me is there might be other cases that have been swept under the carpet. I’ve spoken to international players who’ve been approached several times in Asia. It’s rife out there.”

Palladino was released by Essex and is now at Derbyshire and believes that the most vulnerable players to match fixing are just starting out on their career.

“There were whispers I was trying to get rid of a bowler to make it easier for myself in the team,”

“The guys most at risk are in Merv’s situation — young, in the first team, but not earning much money.

“Merv could have gone on to play for England but he made a bad decision and for £6,000 he’s lost his career. It’s such a waste.”

Westfield will be sentenced next month, while former Pakistani Salman Butt, Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Asif are serving jail sentences after being convicted last year.

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