Ex-football star Alan Lawrence admits postal theft
A former footballer who played in two Scottish Cup finals has been sentenced for theft while working as a postman.
Alan Lawrence, 51, admitted stealing postal packets and their contents, worth £500, from Airdrie Delivery Office between May 2011 and May 2012.
At the town's sheriff court he was told to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.
Lawrence played in two cup finals with Airdrie. He also had spells at Hearts, Dundee, Partick Thistle, Stenhousemuir, Cowdenbeath and Arbroath.
Airdrie Sheriff Court heard how Lawrence was caught after postal packets were tagged by investigators who had received anonymous information.
Some of the packets went missing and were traced to Lawrence's home in Airdrie. He later admitted the thefts when interviewed by police.
Lawyer Stephen McBride, representing Lawrence, said the former player had been "suffering from acute pressures and depression".
"At the time he was in a bad place with mental health difficulties and couldn't speak to anyone about them," he told the court.
'Sense of relief'
"It was a sense of relief that these offences came to light in order to get the matters off his chest.
"When it happened it was a breakthrough and an acknowledgement of his problems. He is still involved in a course of anti-depressants and has enjoyed the support of his employers, family and friends."
Mr McBride said Lawrence accepted "full responsibility" and asked that the matter be dealt with "in a non-custodial way".
Sentencing Lawrence, Sheriff Petra Collins told him: "Offences of this kind normally attract a custodial sentence, but I am persuaded marginally to allow you the chance to do a community payback order which will include supervision and to complete 100 hours of unpaid work within nine months.
"This is a direct alternative to custody."