FORMER Black Cats striker Darren Bent is at the centre of an epic court struggle over a hire car.
The footballer, pictured, used an Aston Martin DB9 to get to training and matches after his Mercedes CLS 63 coupe was involved in a crash.
The accident in south London left the player with a £20,000 repair bill.
He went to credit hire firm, Accident Exchange Ltd, and rented an Aston Martin at a cost of more than £570-per-day. Bent, who joined Aston Villa from Sunderland earlier this year, had the car for 94 days, running up a bill for £63,406.
He presented the bill to Allianz Insurance but, when they queried its size, the scene was set for a marathon legal row.
It has involved escalating lawyers bills, two county court hearings and two trips to the Court of Appeal in London.
At Cambridge County Court in February this year, almost exactly four years after the road shunt, a judge refused to reimburse Bent in full.
Judge Isobel Plumstead said a reasonable sum for Bent to have spent on hiring a replacement car was £396-per-day, or a total of £43,738.
Now, however, Bent’s lawyers are challenging that decision at the Court of Appeal in what is being seen as a crucial test case for the credit hire and insurance industries.
After the day-long hearing, judgment was reserved on the appeal until an unspecified date.