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Holligan's bid to overturn ban is dashed

PUBLISHED: 20:38 26 April 2003 | UPDATED: 13:48 03 March 2010

FOOTBALL hooligan Paul Stephenson has seen his hopes of overturning an order banning him from the centre of Ipswich on football matchdays dashed.

The 34-year-old, of Schreiber Road, Ipswich, is barred from entering the area surrounding the Portman Road football ground on matchdays after inciting football violence in October 2001.

FOOTBALL hooligan Paul Stephenson has seen his hopes of overturning an order banning him from the centre of Ipswich on football matchdays dashed.

The 34-year-old, of Schreiber Road, Ipswich, is barred from entering the area surrounding the Portman Road football ground on matchdays after inciting football violence in October 2001.

Stephenson – whose father Roy was a member of the Ipswich Town championship winning team of 1961/62 – is now two years into the three-year ban and was hoping to apply to have it lifted.

However, these hopes have been ruined after Stephenson defied his ban by entering the Victoria Pub, in Civic Drive, Ipswich at around 7.50pm on Good Friday.

Dozens of football fans were in the area at the time as Ipswich Town had just defeated Portsmouth at Portman Road.

Stephenson is banned from entering Ipswich town centre between noon and 11pm when Town are playing at home or away. It also applies when England football matches are being televised.

He was spotted leaving the pub at around 8.10pm by police officers, who approached him and asked for his name.

Initially, he gave a false name but a search of his wallet found Stephenson's driving licence and the officers were able to make an arrest after establishing his true identity.

Appearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates' court yesterday, Stephenson admitted the breach but said he was simply taking money into the pub to give to a friend.

Mitigating Neil Saunders, said: "After he was silly enough to give the police officer a false name, he put his hands up to it straight away.

"It's a one-off in the two years he's been banned and it's a pretty large area to be kept out of when Ipswich are playing."

Bench chairwoman Vicki Sears fined Stephenson £50 and ordered him to pay £55 prosecution costs.

Supt Int Carl Puiy, who is in charge of football policing for Suffolk Police, said the legislation is vital to the effective policing of football hooligans.

"Banning orders were introduced to combat football hooliganism and there's no doubting their effectiveness when backed up with intelligence, he said.

"Once someone is subject to a banning order, a picture is given to all officers policing on matchdays. The orders are very effective in dealing with football hooliganism."

He added it was "highly unlikely" Stephenson would have his ban overturned if he applied.

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