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Former Accrington Stanley player Paddy Lacey jailed over Glastonbury drugs bust

The midfielder, 24, was sacked by the club in May after testing positive for cocaine

Paddy Lacey

A disgraced former Accrington Stanley player has been jailed for possessing Class A drugs and counterfeit money while at Glastonbury Festival.

Patrick Lacey, better known as Paddy Lacey, was arrested on the second day of the world famous festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset in June.

Lacey, of Manor Avenue, Crosby, was found with 20.3 grams of cocaine, 16.8 grams of MDMA, and £520 in counterfeit £20 notes.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing a controlled substance, and passing as genuine an item which he knew to be a counterfeit.

He was sentenced to 16 months in prison at Bristol Crown Court, on July 21, having earlier pleaded guilty at Bath Magistrates.

In May this year, the 24-year-old was banned from playing football for 14 months by the Football Association after he admitted breaching anti-doping regulations by testing positive for cocaine following Stanley’s match against Hartlepool United, in November 2016.

The disciplinary proceedings were not related to the jail sentence, which marks a dramatic fall from grace for Liverpool-born Lacey, who joined Accrington Stanley in August 2016 as a promising 23-year-old midfield prospect.

Accrington Stanley owner Andy Holt

Andy Holt, chairman of Accrington Stanley, told the Observer he was ‘shocked’ at the news of Paddy’s conviction.

He said: “It’s a real shame, he was a really promising player for us and I was really disappointed when he tested positive after Hartlepool.

“We gave him his chance in the Football League, he was a tough central midfielder and we really liked him.

“He’s made a big mistake and he’s paying the price. I wish it wasn’t true.

"He had the chance to do really well and it’s sad that he’s thrown that away at such a young age. I do hope it’s the last mistake he makes.”

The former Sky Bet EFL League Two Goal of the Month winner netted memorably from 25 yards for the Reds against Portsmouth early in his League Two career.

Lacey began his football career at Sheffield Wednesday’s Academy before a switch to Bradford City in 2011, where he moved to Altrincham part-time, also working as a carpet fitter.

He moved on to Barrow, who he helped gain promotion to the Conference in 2015, and spent two seasons at Holker Street before signing a one-year contract with Stanley.

Lacey was also forging a successful amateur boxing career, winning the 75kg class B category of the prestigious Haringey Box Cup in June.

Player was banned in May

Paddy Lacey

Paddy Lacey was sacked by Stanley in May after the FA handed him a 14-month ban.

He had been suspended since the previous December after a metabolite of cocaine was found in a urine sample on November 22 last year.

At the FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission Hearing in May - a month before his arrest - Lacey’s representatives had argued that his use of the prohibited substance during a nine-hour drinking session with friends was not ‘intentional’ and there was no ‘significant fault’ on the behalf of the player.

The Commission agreed to a 14-month ban, down from a maximum available sanction of four years. Lacey had given evidence that over the previous four years he had been suffering from depression, without receiving professional help, and used alcohol and cocaine to ‘cope’.

The hearing report says he told the FA’s head of integrity that since the positive test result he had been “undertaking therapy to address his problems and was making progress.”

In issuing the lessened sanction, the Commission accepted that it was ‘cognitive impairment’ that had caused Lacey to breach the anti-doping rules and were satisfied that it was a case of ‘no significant fault or negligence’.

They also agreed not to order him to pay a fine or costs.

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