Soccer hooligans fined after crowd trouble

From the courts
From the courts

TWO football hooligans captured on a police DVD have been fined after they were involved in crowd trouble at an Alfreton Town FC match which left decent supporters, ball boys and stewards feeling threatened and distressed.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard, on Thursday, October 4, how trouble flared and fans kicked and pushed temporary fencing separating rival supporters on the Alma Street enclosure at a home match between Alfreton and Grimsby Town, at the Impact Arena, in Alfreton, on January 7.

Ball boys had to be moved to safety from a section of terracing before police were able to re-establish a divide between both sets of fans which one police officer described as “a baying mob”.

District Judge Andrew Davison said: “Kit manager at Alfreton Town Pamela Adams described Grimsby fans rushing towards Alfreton fans and vice versa. She was responsible for the ball boys in the middle and she had real concerns for the welfare of those boys.

“She described the atmosphere in the first half as volatile and was not used to this in eight years’ experience at Alfreton. She felt intimidated and this was not normal banter.”

Christopher Thompson, 34, of Lambert Road, Grimsby, and Andrew Stokes, 33, of Maxwell Court, Grimsby, were both found guilty of using threatening or disorderly behaviour following a trial.

Stokes was judged to have been gesticulating to fans, shouting and swearing and was standing close to Alfreton fans at the dividing fence.

District Judge Davison said: “I’m satisfied there were others, decent supporters and ball boys who suffered harassment, alarm or distress by this conduct which was disorderly or threatening.”

Stokes, who is of previous good character, claimed he had been subjected to abuse and his behaviour had been nothing more than standard banter at a football match.

He was sentenced to a £300 fine, a £15 surcharge and ordered to pay £700 in costs and was spared from a football banning order because of previous good character.

The court heard how Thompson was close to the fence, shouting, swearing and making gestures to Alfreton fans even though he denied committing using threatening or disorderly behaviour.

He was sentenced to a £500 fine, a £15 surcharge and ordered to pay £700 in legal costs and given a five-year football banning order after the court heard he had three previous bans.

Following the trial, Carl Harriman, 46, of Arthur Street, Alfreton, Stephen McConnell, 44, of Stretton Road, Morton, and Connor Hawkins, 20, of Chestnut Avenue, Grimsby, were found not guilty of using threatening or disorderly behaviour.

Previously, three other Alfreton fans pleaded guilty to threatening and disorderly behaviour and were given football bans, a Grimsby fan also pleaded guilty and was given a ban and another Grimsby fan was acquitted after the Blue Square Premier League clash which Grimsby won 5-2.