A former Scottish international footballer claimed more than £7,500 in benefits he was not entitled to, a court heard.
Michael Galloway, the once capped defender who played for Scottish Premier League outfits Hearts and Celtic, wrongly claimed the money in income support over a five year period while receiving pension payments, a district judge in Northumberland was told yesterday.
Retired Galloway, now living in the North of the county, pleaded guilty to three offences and was given a six month community order.
The 48 year old, who lives at Tynely Cottages, Chathill, appeared at Mid and South East Northumberland court at Bedlington on charges of dishonestly making false statements to obtain benefits, on June 3, 2005, January 3, 2008, and September 18, 2010.
Prosecutor Claire Thomasson told the court how on the three occasions, Galloway had signed forms requesting income support.
She added: “Enquiries later revealed he was in fact in receipt of annuities from a 1999 pension which remain undeclared until August 2011.”
Ms Thomasson told the court Galloway had been overpaid to the tune of £7,632.47.
Defending Graham Crouth told the court: “Mr Galloway was a professional footballer for many years until 1995 with some distinction, including being capped for Scotland.
“He regretfully was in a very significant car crash in 1995 which ended his playing career.
“Like others before him, like professional footballers not able to play, regretfully drink became a significant issue for Mr Galloway.”
The court was told that Galloway was homeless for a time and would sleep on beaches in Scotland.
Mr Crouth explained that his client relied on others to complete the relevant forms for him.
The solicitor said Galloway had been entitled to some income support but that he had been overpaid by around £20 per week as a result of not disclosing his pension.
The court heard he has now “turned his life around,” having not drunk alcohol since 2008 and lived with his partner the past two years, and that he has been voluntarily repaying the money he wrongfully claimed.
District judge Bernard Begley imposed a six month community order with a curfew from 9pm to 6am, and ordered Galloway to pay £85 costs.