Football World Cup star Dejan Lovren had his social media accounts hacked by a fan living in Selkirk, the town’s sheriff court has been told.
About 150 private family photos belonging to the Croatian defender, an image of his identity card, financial details and a letter from his club featuring his address were found on Peter Doswell’s computer.
The 22-year-old Liverpool supporter also accessed private contact details for two of Lovren’s club team-mates, Adam Lallana and Emre Can, sending them messages on their personal social media accounts and mobiles asking them questions.
Doswell, described as having a low IQ, pleaded guilty at Selkirk Sheriff Court to knowingly causing a computer to perform a function with intent to secure unauthorised access to a program or data held on another computer.
That offence was committed at his rented Murray Place home on Selkirk’s Bannerfield estate between April 1 and April 20 last year.
His lawyer, Mark Harrower, described it as an unusual case and insisted his client was “not an experienced hacker”.
He suggested that a third party was involved given the level of expertise required but that Doswell had gone along with it and had carried out some of the actions himself.
An examination of Doswell’s computer by Police Scotland’s cybercrime unit found 155 video folders featuring Lovren and his family, eight text documents relating to the 28-year-old’s purchase of a property in London and a club letter from Liverpool, all information not publicly available.
Doswell’s laptop contained details of phishing and software used to hack email accounts.
England international midfielder Lallana, 30, received WhatsApp messages from Doswell asking if he played for Liverpool and saying he had personal details of his team-mates.
German defender Can, 24, since signed by Italian club Juventus, had five missed calls from Doswell’s mobile phone and began exchanging text messages querying who he was.
Doswell then sent him two photos of Liverpool players playing poker and an image of Lovren’s identity card asking: “Your team-mate, yes or no?”
Can informed team manager Jurgen Klopp and it was then that Lovren realised his Facebook page had been compromised as those pictures were not publicly available.
Merseyside Police were called in, and Police Scotland were contacted when the evidence began pointing to Selkirk.
Search warrants were secured, and Doswell’s home was searched on April 20, as as his partner’s home elsewhere in Selkirk.
Mr Harrower admitted Doswell was guilty of a “huge intrusion”, adding: “It is a serious matter, I accept that, but it was not particularly sophisticated what he has done, and he seems to have been led down the garden path by others but is here to face the music.”
Mr Harrower pointed out that Doswell had pleaded guilty and that had avoided the Liverpool players needing to travel north of the border to give evidence at a trial.
Sheriff Mark Thorley told Doswell: “Although the circumstances are somewhat unusual, I can find a way of dealing with this without you going into custody, but be in no doubt that taking information from them and circulating it is a serious matter.”
As an alternative to a prison sentence, Doswell was put under supervision for 27 months with a conduct requirement restricting his use of the internet and with his supervising officer able to inspect any of his devices.
He was also ordered to carry out 225 hours’ unpaid work as part of a community payback order.
Lovren has played in all four of Croatia’s World Cup matches in Russia and is due to line up against the host nation in the quarter-finals this Saturday.