A former goalkeeper has admitted handling over £2,500 in counterfeit £50 bank notes after he developed a gambling addiction when he was released by a football league club.
Lincoln Crown Court was told goalkeeper Joshua Macann, now 24, spiralled in to debt after his dream of being a professional footballer came to an end at the age of 17 when he was dropped by Norwich City because he was not tall enough.
Macann, who also appeared for Boston United youth team, was linked to the cash after he sent increasingly desperate texts demanding the return of the 51 counterfeit notes when they were held by another man.
The court heard gambling was ‘prevalent’ among Macann’s footballing friends and by August 2016 when he committed the counterfeit currency offence he was going online and visiting both casinos and bookmakers.
Ian Way, prosecuting, said one of the messages read: “If you don’t get them back to me, you owe me, I’m coming round to your house now.”
Another read that “he’d sold them, and needed them back.”
The court heard Macann carried out the counterfeit money offence while serving a six month suspended prison sentence passed at Lincoln Crown Court in March 2016 for dangerous driving.
Lisa Hardy, mitigating, told the court there had been a long delay in the money case coming to court during which time Macann had completed the unpaid work from his suspended sentence and turned his life around.
Miss Hardy said: “He has got to accept 51 notes is not a small amount, there is the potential for them to be distributed.”
But Miss Hardy added: “In August 2016 he was suffering with a gambling addiction.
“At 17 he was on a professional football scholarship with Norwich, he was doing well and hoped to be a professional footballer.
“At 17 he was dropped by Norwich because he was not tall enough, he was a goalkeeper, and his life fell apart.
“It was a blow to his self esteem and left him with idle hands. He had been mixing with other lads in the football environment where gambling is prevalent, and was not helped by the fact his grandfather was also a professional gambler.
“He started dabbling, in casinos, online, bookmakers, and built up substantial debts.”
Miss Hardy said Macann still saw gambling as a problem and had referred himself for help.
She added: “This has taken since August 2016 to come to court and he is now a different man. He is now a proud dad and works full time as a roofer with his partner controlling the purse strings.”
Judge Andrew Easteal agreed to adjourn sentence for the preparation of a probation report after telling Macann that offences involving counterfeit money nearly always ended in custody.
But the judge told Macann he had his in favour that he had stayed out of trouble and turned his life around in the long period it had taken for the prosecution to be brought.
Macann, of Oaklands, Halfpenny Lane, Beetley, Norfolk, admitted a counterfeit currency offence under section six of the Fraud Act.
He was granted bail and will be sentenced on a later date at Lincoln Crown Court.