SOUTHEND United striker Nile Ranger took to social media to pay tribute to his former team-mate Cheick Tiote - despite being jailed two weeks ago.

The 25-year-old was handed an eight-month sentence for conspiracy to defraud by obtaining bank details and transferring money.

Yet he was still able to post on his Instagram page following the sudden death of Ivory Coast star Tiote, who Ranger played alongside at Newcastle United.

Using his NilePowerRanger account, he wrote: “Sad to hear the news about my brother Cheick Tiote.

“He would go through a brick wall and give you a two footed tackle in training a day before a cup final!

“What a guy though, top man and a professional. My condolences go out to his family.”

Tiote died on Monday during a training session with his new club in China.

Ranger’s post attracted more than 2,400 likes but some followers asked how he was able to post if he was inside.

One said: “Aren’t you meant to be in pen?” Another said: “You posting from jail?”

Other users suggested Ranger was foolish for making the post, although some said he should be given a break because he was grieving for his friend.

Prisoners in British jails are not allowed social media accounts and mobile phones are banned, although thousands are smuggled in and confiscated every year.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice said a full investigation is being carried out.

He said: “This behaviour is unacceptable and we are working to get the content removed from social media. The prison is also investigating.

“It is a criminal offence to bring a mobile phone into prison, or transmit sounds or images from within a prison using a mobile phone. These offences carry a maximum penalty of two years in prison.”

Ranger scored eight goals in 28 games last season but his future at Roots Hall has yet to be decided following his latest misdemeanour.

He was jailed after admitting conspiracy to defraud a woman out of more than £2,000 by obtaining personal banking details and transferring the cash to another account.

The striker was also suspended by the Shrimpers in January following a serious breach of club discipline and it has yet to be determined if he will return.

Blues boss Phil Brown previously told the Echo much would depend on what fitness work Ranger would be able to carry out during pre-season.

However, a decision has yet to be made and Ranger has not yet commented on his future.