The Streets star MIKE SKINNER has been accused of stealing lyrics from a childhood friend.

CHRIS PANTON claims he wrote much of Skinner's critically-acclaimed debut album ORIGINAL PIRATE MATERIAL - but was ousted from The Streets when Skinner won a record deal.

Panton says, "We were a four-piece and he was our producer. When a record company offered a deal he signed as a solo artist, forgetting about the rest of us who were the brains behind the songs. He is now a superstar and people keep asking me 'what is going on?'

"His first hit HAS IT COME TO THIS? was written by me and another guy.

"It's the ultimate betrayal. We were like brothers. Mike would not be in the position he is in today without me."

Panton also claims to have saved Skinner's life at a party as he lay inebriated on the floor and in danger of choking to death.

He adds, "When we were 17 I had a party at my house. I saw him (Skinner) lying on the floor. His face was blue. he was choking on vomit. I scooped sick out of his throat with my fingers. I should have left him to choke to death."

Panton's bitterness was compounded when Mike allegedly tried to steal his girlfriend, Hannah.

A spokesman for the Streets has dismissed Panton's allegations, insisting, "Chris is an old friend of Mike's. When the relationship ended there was some bad feeling."

25/07/2004 21:28