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Ex-Newport, Chester, Halifax player faces jail after causing suffering to French bulldog

Ex-Newport, Chester, Halifax player Cortez Belle faces jail after causing suffering to French bulldog, reports confirmed on Wednesday.

The 38 year old has been warned about going to prison after he pleaded guilty to an animal welfare offence over a dog called Tinker Bell.

It relates to him failing to provide vet treatment regarding polyp like growths affecting the animal’s ears which became inflamed and sore.

French Bulldog

South Wales Argus state that a charge also relates to inadequate treatment in respect of a large mass affecting the dog’s left ear which had become infected, ulcerated and painful.

The offence was committed between the 11th of June and 11th of August of this year.

Belle, of Orb Drive, Newport, was told “all options” would be open when he is sentenced on the 30th of December before being granted unconditional bail.

Cortez Belle most recently played in defence but also has been a forward for Gwent County League Division 2 outfit Cromwell Youth AFC in Wales.

Belle played in the Football League with Chester City during the 2004–05 season, having signed in January 2004. He was red carded three times between September and January and only made one first-team appearance after this.

In January 2008, Belle signed for Northwich Victoria but departed the club later that year to sign for Chippenham Town who made Belle their record signing.

He only spent a short time at Chippenham however after his contract was terminated due to breach of conduct in December 2008.

In August 2011 he moved to Port Talbot Town. and around two years later, June 2013, he moved to Carmarthen Town and also endured a loan spell at Connah’s Quay.

In 2017, he was labelled as “greedy” after stealing more than £15,000 from a Cardiff high school to pay off hefty gambling debts after losing his career earnings, a court heard.

Cortez Belle previously pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud by abuse of position and one of theft by employee.

Sentencing him at Cardiff Crown Court, Judge William Gaskell told him: “Those monies which would have been available to be spent on children’s welfare went into your pocket.”

The court heard the defendant was working at Fitzalan High School as a staff absence and data manager.

Rosamund Rutter, prosecuting, said: “This case had a serious impact on the school and its staff.”

She told the court that Belle was responsible for signing off invoices and placed £15,747.94 of school funds into his own bank account.

Business manager Andrea Sprudd made a victim impact statement on behalf of the school.

Reading from her statement in his sentencing remarks, the judge said: “What you did was extremely upsetting because of your position of trust.”

The court heard the player’s offending created extra preventable work for other members of school staff, who had to work extra hours and through the holidays to resolve the issue.

Prosecutors argued aggravating features included the fact the defendant was in a position of power.

Belle, from Orb Drive in Newport, admitted two counts of fraud by abuse of position and one count of theft by employee.

Lucie Stoker, defending, stressed her client had no previous convictions and made “full and frank” admissions in his police interview.

She said he was working hard to overcome his gambling addiction and had been hoping to re-train to work in railway maintenance, hoping the work will keep him away from betting shops.

Still it seemed in years after this that he continued to play in football, possibly not the best solution to his addiction.

Ms Stoker told the court the dad-of-two is attending evening classes with Gamblers Anonymous and wants to earn more money to support his young family and repay what he took.

She added: “He is exceptionally remorseful for his actions.”

Judge Gaskell told the defendant: “I am not excessively sympathetic. It is a problem of your own making – you were greedy.

“You got yourself into trouble and you chose to steal from your employers.”

He described Belle’s decision to gamble as “gross stupidity” and said it was “utterly inevitable” he would end up in debt.

The court heard how he lost the money he made during his footballing career and racked up debts of around £15,000, something that is no doubt a rule break within the game anyway.

Judge Gaskell added: “You say you are remorseful – well you certainly should be. You were an idiot to get yourself involved in this gambling and get yourself into debt.

“It had consequences for the school. You have denied the children of the school the benefit of the monies you pocketed for your own benefit.”

Belle was given a 12-month jail term, suspended for two years.

A community order was made, requiring him to complete 250 hours of unpaid work and 40 days of a rehabilitation activity, as well as complying with a three-month curfew.

He had to pay compensation of £15,000, plus £340 towards prosecution costs and a £140 victim surcharge. The judge told him: “You are fortunate not to go to prison.”

Fast forward to today and the ex-Newport, Chester, Halifax player faces jail after causing suffering to a French bulldog.

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