Northern Ireland

Ryan Caldwell: Ex-rugby player on probation for drugs offence

Ryan Caldwell pictured in training for Ulster in 2008 Image copyright Pacemaker Press
Image caption Ryan Caldwell pictured in training for Ulster in 2008

A former Ulster and Ireland rugby player has been placed on probation for 12 months for having the drug, Ecstasy.

Ryan Cyril Caldwell, 33, from Drumart Drive, Belfast, admitted possession of the Class A drug, found during a search last year.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard police recovered eight tablets at an undisclosed location on 13 June.

A defence barrister said this was a "very sad tale".

He said it involved a sportsman whose career had been cut short because of injury.

"This man played rugby at a very high level, playing for Ulster and clubs in England," he said.

'Problem with recreational drugs'

"He's been an athlete all his life, but because of hip problems he had to retire from rugby."

The former Ulster and Ireland lock also played for Bath and Exeter Chiefs. His career came to an end more than two years ago.

Since then, Caldwell has been dealing with a number of difficulties, the court was told.

"Among those is a problem with recreational drugs," his barrister said. "He was reluctant to admit that, but he accepts he does have an issue."

Imposing 12 months probation, the district judge directed that this must include compliance with a drugs and alcohol programme.