Former Ipswich Town footballer Kieron Dyer has been handed a six-month driving ban after taking a phone call while behind the wheel.

Dyer admitted using a mobile phone while driving a motor vehicle on a road but made an application for exceptional hardship as he has a chronic liver disease.

The 44-year-old, of Dale Hall Lane in Ipswich, told Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Thursday that he has primary sclerosing cholangitis.

He took the call approaching his home address, according to his defence, and believed it was relating to his health. 

His "mistake" was not ending the call when he discovered it was nothing to do with the condition.

He was charged with using a handheld mobile phone while driving his Audi in Norwich Road on April 20 last year.

The former midfielder said he cannot be more than two hours from Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge or he may miss the chance to have the operation.

The radius is in case a suitable organ suddenly becomes available.

Dyer said that this was one of the reasons he had to leave his job coaching Ipswich Town's under-23s, who play teams as far away as Bristol, and that the condition has meant he was susceptible to injuries that affected his footballing career.

He added that he could afford taxis in the case of being banned from driving, but would need to carry around a hospital bag containing his medical records in case he was suddenly called in.

The court heard, from an email from his wife Holly Dyer, that losing his licence would put her husband in a "very worrying position" for a "life-changing operation".

However, the magistrates told Dyer that he had "the deepest sympathy" with his situation but decided that the threshold for exceptional hardship had not been met.

They concluded from Dyer's economic situation that arrangements could be made, and therefore issued six points for the offence.

This left Dyer with enough 'totting up' points for a six-month driving ban to be issued.

He was also issued with fines totalling £836.