Wayne Rooney has just delivered a masterclass in making a story disappear
The former footballer was pictured asleep fully clothed with the girls in a hotel room.
Wayne Rooney has delivered a masterclass in how to make a story disappear by buying the copyright to pictures that allegedly showed him on a night out with three girls and asleep in hotel room fully clothed with them.
The thinking behind this? So media outlets could not continue publishing them.
The images in question went viral on social media over the weekend.
From the outset, Rooney has denied any impropriety, effectively saying he'd been stitched up and reporting the matter to police. His wife Coleen was quick to express her support for him - and on Wednesday a letter from Rooney's legal representatives did the rounds, saying the copyright in the offending images was now owned by the former England star.
One media lawyer, who asked not to be named, said he had never seen this approach taken before, with celebrities usually trying to seek an injunction to suppress a story, rather than effectively buying the rights to its key imagery.
He added: "It's ingenious."
One media outlet on Wednesday reported that Rooney's legal team said the three girls who took the photographs "volunteered to hand over all pictures that were taken that night and the copyrights in them."
The outlet also reported that the girls "made a written apology" to the Derby County manager.
The copyright to the images was handed over to Rooney for the nominal sum of £1.
Rooney had reported the images to the police, complaining of blackmail. On Tuesday, Cheshire Police released a statement saying that they had dropped the case.
The force said: "On Monday, Cheshire Constabulary received reports of a possible blackmail relating to a number of images circulating online.
"Officers have spoken to the person involved and are satisfied no offences have taken place. The person involved has also stated they do not wish to take the matter any further."
JOE has reached out to Rooney's representatives for comment, but at time of publication, were yet to hear back.