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FORMER Carmarthen Town manager Mark Aizlewood was today jailed for six years for his part in a £5m sports leadership scam, which falsely claimed to help young people from deprived backgrounds gain football coaching apprenticeships.

Former Wales international Aizlewood, 58, was sentenced alongside fellow ex-pro Paul Sugrue, 56, who was jailed for seven years, for defrauding “eye-watering sums of government money”.

Aizlewood and Sugrue were among a group of six men who promised to help young people not in employment, education or training, known as Neets, gain NVQs in activity leadership.

The men claimed millions from further education colleges to provide full-time training in football coaching, work experience and a £95 weekly stipend to 3,800 students, many of whom did not exist or lived at the opposite side of the country from the scheme.

When sentencing the six men, Judge David Tomlinson said: “There was a serious detrimental effect on colleges of further education.”

He said it involved “eye watering sums of government money” under the pretext of helping disadvantaged people. “This was quite simply shameful exploitation,” he added.

Earlier this month, Aizlewood was convicted of one count and Sugrue of two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud by false representation by offering the non-existent apprenticeships through their firm Luis Michael Training Ltd. 

Following the verdict, Aizlewood was immediately sackes by Carmarthen, where he had been in charge of first team affairs since January 2012.