Football thugs banned from all matches

A GANG of football thugs who organised violent fights and sang about killing police officers have been banned from all matches in England.

James Hore

A GANG of football thugs who organised violent fights and sang about killing police officers have been banned from all matches in England.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) yesterday successfully obtained banning orders against eight young men and teenagers responsible for a catalogue of vile behaviour from 2006 to 2009.

Harwich Magistrates' Court heard the so-called “Colchester Youth Squad” - which has no affiliation with the League One club - made throat-slitting gestures at opposition supporters, organised fights and were responsible for criminal damage.

Magistrates agreed to banning orders for eight offenders including Tyler Porter, 18, of Brightlingsea, Joe Ennew, 18, of Colchester, Rhys Holbrow, 19, of Rowhedge, and four others who can't be named for legal reasons, from all football games across England and Wales for the next three years.

Luke Hewitt, 22, of Colchester, received a four year banning order.

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The ban is instant and means the gang will not be allowed in parts of Colchester when homes games are played.

They will also be barred from any town where the U's are away from home and not be able to use trains, including the London Underground, while Colchester United or England are playing.

And the gang members cannot go into Colchester when international games are played.

Ian Elkins, CPS prosecutor, said: “The Crown Prosecution Service has recently updated its policy to tackle football hooliganism, and this is the first case of its kind in the region with this many defendants.

“Particularly in the run up to the World Cup we hope to be even more proactive in our work with the police to increase prosecutions of this nature and improve public confidence by dealing with this type of offending.”

Mr Elkins added: “This behaviour is threatening and intimidating and wholly unacceptable and we hope these banning orders will stop further offences of violence and disorder, in particular, in relation to Colchester United Football Club.

“We hope these youths take stock of their actions, which has intimidated genuine football fans and innocent passers by, and are deterred from similar behaviour in the future. “

The defendants did not contest the evidence put forward by the CPS at yesterday's hearing.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk