A man who has been banned from begging in the streets of Liverpool was once a promising footballer, the Liverpool Echo have reported.
Lee Debrucker, who was punished for aggressively begging in the city centre, played for the Liverpool Schoolboys team in the 1980s alongside striker Robbie Fowler.
Debrucker last month appeared in court and was banned from a large section of Liverpool city centre.
A criminal behaviour order was handed out to him after several reports of abuse and swearing when asking for money.
He was also banned from begging in areas of Merseyside after being found to have abused a police officer.
A former pupil of the school Debrucker attended told the Liverpool Echo: “He grew up playing football in school and was a very, very good football player and played along side Robbie Fowler.
“Apparently Fowler said that Lee was better than him at football and one of the best he has seen.
“But when he was getting to his late teens he started smoking cannabis and moved onto heavier drugs, before he quit football at a young age.”
He claimed that he wanted to tell the story of “how a bright and brilliant young footballer who should have gone professional is now a fake homeless beggar.”
He added: “Hopefully this shows that maybe he is not all bad and this may be a reason he is so aggressive as he is just furious with himself.”
Court proceedings against Debrucker began after a video emerged online, which showed him abusing passers-by outside Liverpool Central Station.
If he sets foot in the area outlined in the criminal behaviour order, he could be jailed.