Former PNE star jailed for shoplifting

Deepdale Stadium, Preston

Deepdale Stadium, Preston

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An ex-professional footballer went on a £5,000 shoplifting spree having taken over his partner’s cocaine debt.

Kevin Magee was a team-mate of David Beckham during a two-year spell at Preston North End during the 1990s and also represented several Scottish clubs.

But after his 15-year career was cut short by injury, the 45-year-old went on to chalk up a raft of convictions.

At Carlisle Crown Court yesterday, he was jailed for six months having committed his latest illegal acts. These were five thefts from supermarkets in North Cumbria on three separate dates in May.

The court heard that £5,284 worth of alcohol – plus a vacuum cleaner – was taken as Magee and accomplices targeted Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco in Carlisle, and a Morrisons in Penrith.

Magee pleaded guilty to the crimes and stated that his partner had run up a £700 drug debt. Having taken that on, he agreed to transport two men to Cumbria to shoplift.

“The defendant was certain if he failed to do what they wanted he would be beaten up,” said his lawyer, Richard English. “His benefit was reducing the drug debt.”

Giving mitigation, Mr English said Magee had developed a drug problem after his football career ended.

“He left the professional game through injury and also suffering from diabetes. He was gambling while he was a football player and left with nothing at all; nothing to show for 15 years as a professional,” said Mr English.

Recorder Philip Curran imposed a prison sentence. “It was a theft on a really very substantial scale because pretty well on each occasion the value exceeded £1,000,” the judge told Magee, of Dechmont, Broxburn, West Lothian.