Ex-England and Ipswich Town player Kevin Beattie admits fraud

Kevin Beattie
Image caption Beattie had been hailed as one of the best footballers of his generation

An ex-Ipswich Town and England defender has been sentenced for falsely claiming benefit while working as a radio pundit.

Kevin Beattie, 58, of Ipswich, admitted falsely claiming almost £9,000 by failing to declare he had begun work for BBC Radio Suffolk.

Ipswich magistrates gave him a 12-week curfew.

Beattie was part of Sir Bobby Robson's golden era at Ipswich Town in the 1970s.

He was once described by Sir Bobby as the best England player he had ever seen.

Beattie, of Wren Avenue, won nine caps for his country but his career was dogged by injury and all but ended at the age of 28, when he left Ipswich Town.

Magistrates heard the FA Cup winner was now living off "extremely limited means" and acting as a full time carer for his wife who has multiple sclerosis.

He was ordered to stay indoors between 22:00 and 07:00.

'Great discomfort'

Defence solicitor Lucy Osborn told the court he had jumped at the radio opportunity in 2008 as he missed being involved in the game on a day to day basis.

Addressing the court, she added: "You may or may not know that he is an ex-footballer.

"Sadly his career was cut short in 1983 but at one point he was described as the greatest player to ever play for Ipswich.

"Football has been and remains the love of his life and he saw this as a wonderful opportunity.

"He saw the money as expenses for helping out."

She added the injury which had caused his retirement still restricted his mobility and caused "great discomfort".

The court heard he was paid £45 for Saturday matches and £75 for weekday matches by the BBC.

Prosecutor Claire Furlong said that had he declared this income, his income support would have been stopped or reduced.

Magistrate Debbie Langton said that because an agent had arranged the work, he knew it was more than a voluntary position.

She ordered he pay £50 in prosecution costs.

He had been the inaugural winner of the PFA Young Player of the Year award and was part of the Ipswich side that beat Arsenal 1-0 to lift the FA Cup in 1978.

In 2008, Beattie said he was ecstatic to receive a Uefa Cup winners medal - 27 years after missing the final against AZ Alkmaar due to injury.

BBC Suffolk said: "We decline to comment as this a matter for Kevin Beattie."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites