Ipswich fan banned

AN Ipswich football fan is today banned from attending matches for two years after he was arrested trying to board a plane bound for the Euro 2004.As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, Stuart Hunter, 22, was detained shortly before he would have boarded the 6.

AN Ipswich football fan is today banned from attending matches for two years after he was arrested trying to board a plane bound for the Euro 2004.

As reported in later editions of yesterday's Evening Star, Stuart Hunter, 22, was detained shortly before he would have boarded the 6.50am flight from Luton Airport bound for Madrid yesterday.

He was taken to Luton Magistrates Court, where he was handed a two-year football banning order.

It is thought Hunter, from Greyfriars in Woodbridge, was planning to fly to Madrid before travelling by train to Lisbon - the site of England's games in the Euro 2004 group stages.

Hunter was one of the fans profiled by Ipswich police. He was warned not to travel by officers after pleading guilty to being drunk at the Ipswich v Wigan game last season. He was fined £100 by magistrates for the offence.

His details and description were passed to every officer checking the airports and ports for troublesome fans trying to leave the country for Euro 2004.

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A spokesman for Bedfordshire police said: "Stuart Hunter was detained under the Football Spectators Act as he attempted to get on the 6.50am easyJet flight to Madrid.

"Police officers at the airport checked his details against a national database and found he was on the list.

"He was detained and put before a civil hearing at Luton Magistrates Court this afternoon where they granted a two-year banning order.

"Obviously, he has now been forced to surrender his passport and will be prevented from travelling to any official football match within the UK or abroad for the duration."

She added: "It's believed that Mr Hunter was planning to fly to Madrid and then travel by train to Lisbon.

"He is one of eight people across the UK that have been caught trying to travel to Euro 2004 so far this week."

A total of 13 England fans have so far been stopped from travelling to Euro 2004 as part of a full-scale crackdown on air and sea ports.

Three suspected hooligans were served with notices at their homes banning them from travelling to Portugal for the tournament, a spokesman for the Home Office said.

Others were stopped at airports in Liverpool, Stansted, Luton, Manchester, East Midlands and Leeds Bradford, a Home Office spokeswoman said.

Seven of the fans have already appeared in UK courts, with two receiving two-year banning orders. The rest are prevented from going to the tournament pending the end of court proceedings against them.

N Is the punishment strong enough for troublemakers who try to travel abroad despite warnings? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk or visit the forum at www.eveningstar.co.uk

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