THE NEW presenter of one of Britain’s most popular radio shows has been arrested for possessing cocaine, allegedly assaulting a cabbie and damaging his vehicle in a late-night bust-up.
Capital Drivetime DJ Ant Payne, 39, allegedly got into a row with the mini cab driver while out with pals in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Police were called by the driver and Ant and a 23-year-old friend were both arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.
Ant – a ‘friend to the stars’ who has interviewed some of the biggest names in music – was also held on suspicion of common assault and possession of cocaine after a small packet of white powder was apparently found on him during a body search.
He later agreed to accept a caution for possession of a Class A substance and was released under police investigation over the assault and criminal damage allegations.
The 23-year-old man arrested with him was also released from custody pending further police investigations.
Ant, who took over Capital’s prime Drivetime music slot last month, did not present his show yesterday.
The 4-7pm programme is broadcast in London and also digitally across Britain on the Capital FM network, which has a weekly audience of 7.4 million listeners.
ARRESTED IN SOUTH WEST LONDON
The bust-up which led to his arrest at 1am on Sunday in Wandsworth Road, Nine Elms, South West London, is said to have followed a row with the mini cab driver over the fare.
Police were called by the cabbie who claimed he was assaulted and his vehicle damaged, although police stressed the driver was uninjured in the incident.
A source said: “Ant had been out with friends drinking and got into a row with the cabbie.
“He and a friend were both arrested and taken to a nearby police station. When Ant was searched he apparently had a small amount of cocaine on him. It sounds like a very messy night.”
A friend of the presenter said: “Ant is a lovely guy and this is totally out of character for him”.
Ant is a lovely guy and this is totally out of character for him
Friend of the DJ
The Metropolitan Police said: “Police were called at approximately 1am on Sunday, 10 February to reports of a man assaulted in Wandsworth Road, SW8.
“Officers attended and two men, Man A, aged 39 and Man B, aged 23, were arrested at the scene on suspicion of criminal damage.
“Man A was also arrested on suspicion of common assault and possession of class A drugs.
“The victim – a mini cab driver – was not injured.
“Both suspects were released under investigation in relation to the criminal damage and common assault.
“A caution was accepted by Man A in relation to possession of a class A substance.
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A spokesperson for the media company Global, owners of Capital, said: “We would not comment on a police matter.”
Ant, originally from Solihull, West Midlands, started his radio career at Bournemouth station Fire FM before moving to Galaxy Radio to host the mid-morning show from Manchester in 2004.
In 2011 he landed a job at Capital FM in London where he fronted a mid-morning show until last month, when he was promoted to drive time host.
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