The 28-year-old signed for the League 1 club last December but failed a doping test during pre-season training a month later.
UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) says it collected an out-of-competition urine sample from Lea at a Hornets training session on January 9 which returned adverse analytical findings for drostanolone and its metabolite and a metabolite of trenbolone.
Drostanolone and trenbolone are anabolic steroids which artificially improve athletic performance and are prohibited at all times.
UKAD says Lea acknowledged taking a product called ‘TTM’ but only to improve his physical appearance and that he understood it contained trenbolone and drostanolone but he did not know what those steroids were.
“Athletes have a responsibility to themselves, their fellow athletes and sport to ensure that they are adhering to the anti-doping rules in order to keep sport clean,” UKAD director of operations Pat Myhill said.
“This includes double checking all products, supplements and medications for prohibited substances. It is not enough to say ‘I didn’t know they were steroids’.
“Athletes should familiarise themselves with the prohibited list each year and use Informed Sport and Global DRO to check their products before ingesting.
“The onus is on the athlete to know exactly what they are putting into their bodies at all times.”
The suspension runs to January 8, 2024.
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