Ipswich: Town hero Kevin Beattie admits stupidity led to illegal benefit claim

FORMER Ipswich Town and England star Kevin Beattie today admitted he had been stupid and naive after pleading guilty to illegally claiming nearly �9,000 in benefits.

Beattie, of Wren Avenue, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to notify the Department for Work and Pensions that he was working.

The charge relates to a two-and-a-half year period, between October 29, 2008 and March 29, 2011, when Beattie was working as a contributor and summariser for BBC Radio Suffolk’s coverage of Ipswich Town.

The former defender, who played 307 games for Town, was paid �45 for a Saturday game and �75 for a midweek game.

Beattie said: “It was just naivity on my behalf because I didn’t realise I had to declare it because it wasn’t a great deal.

“I’m not making any excuses, it’s just stupidity on my behalf, that’s life.

“It was a mistake but my life still goes on. I’ll still be doing the radio.”

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Beattie answered the charges at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

In court his solicitor, Lucy Osborn, said he saw the payments as expenses.

She said: “He received an offer from local BBC radio station to comment on Ipswich games taking place each Saturday and he jumped at the chance to do this. He didn’t know for a moment that he was doing anything wrong.”

Beattie was ordered to pay �50 in prosecution costs and he was also placed under curfew between 10pm and 6am until August 14 this year.

The court was told that Beattie, who has been voted as Town’s greatest ever player, was overpaid �8,979 in income support and that he was now living off “extremely limited means”.

Miss Osborn also told magistrates that Beattie was now acting as a full-time carer for his wife, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair-bound.

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

It was not mentioned in court whether Beattie is currently repaying the benefits he received while working.

? Do you think sentences should be tougher for benefit cheats? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, IP4 1AN, or alternatively you can send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk

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