WORCESTERSHIRE County Cricket Club has announced it will be reforming its culture after one of its former players was found guilty of rape.

Alex Hepburn, 23, was found guilty of one count of oral rape at Worcester Crown Court on April 12 after being sacked by the club in 2017.

After the guilty verdict, chairman Fanos Hira said he was “Appalled” at the details of the case and promised that the club would become a ‘Moral Beacon’ and adopt a new set of values.

In November 2017, the club and board were first made aware of the arrest of Hepburn.

In the time between his arrest in the April of that year and the club being made aware, he had been given a one-year contract extension.

It was rumoured that coach at the time Steve Rhodes was aware of Hepburn’s arrest and failed to inform the board.

Shortly after the club heard of Hepburn’s arrest, a short statement confirmed that the club was dealing with a “Disciplinary matter” involving Mr Rhodes “relating solely to his position as director of cricket.”

Two weeks later, another statement said he had been removed from his job with immediate effect, and has never confirmed or denied that Mr Rhodes was dismissed as a result of the Hepburn affair.

Following the announcement of the club’s cultural change, a senior figure in a rape and sexual abuse charity praised the club for their actions, but said more could still be done.

Jocelyn Anderson, chief executive of West Mercia Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Centre, said the suspension of Hepburn is to be commended, and welcomed the action taken by the club, saying: “WCCC state that they are appalled at the details reported in this case and, when you study their published time line of events, they have acted decisively and suspended Hepburn immediately after he was charged.

“This is to be commended, too often, sporting organisations allow their team member to continue playing throughout the investigation as though nothing has happened.

“It is, however, saddening that they have not mentioned anywhere the impact of this upon the victim, nor expressed any regret that this happened to her.

“There is still time to make a further difference, and we would be happy to work with them to achieve that.”