Dawn raids on suspected soccer thugs

VIDEO Dawn raids took place today on 11 homes of suspected hard-core Ipswich hooligans after an attack on Norwich City fans.Around 30 police took part in the swoops, which occurred shortly after 6.30am.

By Colin Adwent

DAWN raids took place today on 11 homes of suspected hard-core Ipswich hooligans after an attack on Norwich City fans.

Around 30 police took part in the swoops, which occurred shortly after 6.30am, at addresses in Ipswich, Stowupland and Bedfordshire.

Twenty-five officers from the British Transport Police, assisted by Suffolk Constabulary, pounced only three days before the East Anglian derby at Carrow Road.

At least nine of the suspects were being questioned at police stations this morning, while the remaining two were expecting to be interviewed by the end of the day.

The raids came after as many as 17 Blues' fans were involved in a battle against Norwich supporters at Ipswich railway station in March.

Most Read

During the fighting, a Liverpool Street to Norwich passenger train had to make an emergency stop as yobs tried to climb through windows of moving carriages to get to their targets.

Football banning orders will be sought against any of today's suspects who are convicted.

However, under bail conditions, it is possible new powers which came into effect this month would mean those in custody could be barred from travelling to Norwich City's ground on Sunday.

Sergeant Bob Munn, who led today's swoops, said: “Extensive investigation into this serious outbreak of disorder at the railway station led to the identification of 11 suspects.

“A vast majority of these people have been arrested today in co-ordinated raids in Suffolk and Bedfordshire.

“The arrests are for conspiracy to cause violent disorder.

“Most of the suspects have been taken to Ipswich police station. One is planned to be taken to Dunstable police station and will then be transferred to Ipswich.

“We will be asking for bail conditions that will ban them travelling by train on any day that Ipswich Town are playing, or being within one mile of Portman Road on the day of any home game and going to any town or city where Ipswich are playing away.”

Sgt Munn said BTP officers from as far away as London, Cambridge, Southend, Peterborough and Milton Keynes were involved in today's operation.

n. Have you been caught up in football violence? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

THE disorder at Ipswich railway station took place following Town's home game with Plymouth on March 31.

Norwich fans were returning to Norfolk from Colchester after their team played at Layer Road.

Both sets of fans are believed to have pre-arranged the violence and as the 7pm train from Liverpool Street pulled into Ipswich at 8.10pm the fighting broke out.

Several people are said to have been assaulted, including railway staff. Families with young children were forced to scatter as fists and other objects flew.

The train had to make an emergency stop when Ipswich hooligans tried to get through the windows as it pulled away.

The service was delayed for 15 minutes until it was able to leave.

Sgt Munn said: “We would like to appeal for anybody on the train who was assaulted, or was a witness, to contact us as soon as possible.

“Such disgraceful behaviour will not be tolerated and we will do everything we can to bring the perpetrators to justice. Anyone behaving in this way can expect to be dealt with by the full weight of the law.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter