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Hamster earned pounds 18,000 for 15 minutes' speech.

TOP Gear presenter Richard Hammond was paid a staggering pounds 1,200 a minute for a speech to business bosses in the Midlands.

The Brummie star earned pounds 18,000 by speaking at a Birmingham Chamber of Commerce dinner for just 15 minutes.

The majority of the Top Gear presenter's speech was devoted to his recent 280 mph jet-car crash.

The pay-out was described as ludicrous by some guests at the event, which was held at the International Convention Centre.

John James, regional chairman of the Institute of Directors, said: "It's a ludicrous sum of money to pay for such a short time. He was quite good - but not that good."

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce refused to comment.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Mar 11, 2007
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