Ex-Rangers footballer Paul Gascoigne told police investigating an allegation he grabbed a woman’s cheeks and kissed her on a train that he had undergone an operation which made him sick if he drank spirits.

He also told investigating officers “thousands” of strangers had come up to him and kissed him over the years.

Teesside Crown Court heard the 52-year-old told British Transport Police officers in an interview: “I get kissed all the time, so if that was the case, I have been sexually harassed for 20 years.”

The former footballer, who also played with Newcastle United, Spurss, Middlesbrough and Everton denies a single count of sexual assault, said to have happened on a York to Newcastle train in August 2018.

He is accused of grabbing a woman by the cheeks and kissing her forcefully and drunkenly on the lips without her consent.

READ MORE: Paul Gascoigne kissed train passenger to ‘reassure’ her, court told

He was arrested at the Jesmond Dene Hotel, Newcastle, that night and taken into custody for questioning the next day.

He told officers that, after hearing somebody describe his alleged victim as fat: “I sat down next to her and just gave her a peck on the lips, and that was it.”

When asked whether his actions had been to reassure the woman about her build, Gascoigne said: “I felt sorry for her. I made sure – she was not fat and ugly.”

Jurors were told that Gascoigne had said to officers that he had only had “three or four cans” prior to the incident because spirits made him “spew up” following a recent operation.

He told police: “I can have beer, I won’t spew up, any shots, I spew up immediately.”

He said during the interview: “Before the operation I could drink gin no problem.”

Gascoigne told investigators he was with his nephews travelling home from Birmingham, having been to Belfast to watch a boxing match where he had had “a great time”.

He also told officers that although the woman had not asked for the kiss, it was not sexual.

The former footballer said during the interview: “I’m not a serious guy, I enjoy life. I’ve got myself in trouble down the years.”

Jurors have heard there were no CCTV cameras in the carriage.