A former England under-16s footballer was caught by police with his trousers round his ankles masturbating in a public park, a court heard.
Lee Parmley, 38, was reported to police by a concerned member of the public who saw him “exposing himself” in the park in Northumberland.
A court heard Parmley took two pornographic magazines out of a black bag, pulled down his trousers and underwear and started to masturbate in the Queen Elizabeth II Country Park in Ashington – unaware that police officers were watching him.
Despite being caught with his trousers around his ankles, Parmley initially tried to to say the officers were “wrong” and that he had simply been sitting having a cigarette, reports Chronicle Live.
But he later admitted the offence and pleaded guilty to one charge of outraging public decency at South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard Parmley was a once promising footballer whose decline into drugs and crime put an end to his hopes of a career in the sport.
Prosecutor James Long said that at around 11.15am on March 26 this year police received a call from a concerned member of the public saying a male was exposing himself in the Queen Elizabeth II Country Park.
He told the court: “They approached the defendant from behind. He was standing in a wooded area, oblivious of the police officers approaching.
“At this stage he appeared to have both hands down his trousers.
“He pulled his trousers and underwear down, exposing his penis.”
The court heard Parmley then removed two magazines from a black bag and started to masturbate.
Mr Long said the magazines were later discovered to be pornographic magazines.
The police officers approached Parmley and asked what he was doing, it was said.
At that point he stood up “with his trousers and underwear still round his ankles”.
Mr Long said: “They made him decent and he was arrested.
“The defendant was interviewed under caution and said the police officers who witnessed what had happened were wrong, that he had simply been having a cigarette.
“He said he had simply found the magazines on the ground.”
Alan Brown, defending, said Parmley had had a “sad decline” from his youth as a promising footballer.
Mr Brown: “As a 16-year-old he was in the England under 16s team. One is now a first team coach at Manchester United.
“From crime he developed into the use of drugs, and drugs have been his ruin.
“He’s always been a courteous, respectful and likeable young man, but drugs have affected him very badly.
“He’s deeply remorseful for what brings him before the court.”
Parmley, of Waterloo Road, Blyth , but currently staying in Byker Bridge accommodation, was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 15 days’ activity requirement and told to pay an £85 victim surcharge and a £40 contribution towards court costs.
Magistrates also imposed an exclusion zone banning him from Queen Elizabeth II park for 12 months.