Match hooligans thwarted by police

A MAJOR police operation to prevent trouble at the Ipswich and Colchester derby was today hailed a success. In all, 11 football fans were arrested for minor offences before and after last night's crunch Championship fixture at Portman Road, in which the home side triumphed 3-1.

A MAJOR police operation to prevent trouble at the Ipswich and Colchester derby was today hailed a success.

In all, 11 football fans were arrested for minor offences before and after last night's crunch Championship fixture at Portman Road, in which the home side triumphed 3-1.

Around 100 officers from Suffolk police and another five from Essex ensured a potentially volatile match passed without notable incident.

Specialist “spotters” were used to identify known hooligans, who were monitored closely throughout the evening.


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Supporters were arrested for trying to enter the stadium drunk, drinking alcohol in view of the pitch and minor public order offences, while one fan was arrested for attempting to get on to the pitch.

Police discovered a metal bar near to the Willis building in Franciscan Way, which they believe had been brought into the town centre to be used as a weapon.

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Inspector Matthew Rose said the threat of violence had been severely dampened by the heavy police presence.

He said: “Our primary focus was on crowd safety and the fact there have been some arrests for minor public order and alcohol-related offences has ensured the huge majority of fans had an enjoyable evening.

“I think we got the numbers of officers about right. We needed enough staff to cope with any contingency.”

The Colchester fixture, along with the Norwich derby and the match with Cardiff, attracts the most police attention.

Two pubs which traditionally welcome away fans, The Station Hotel and The Drum and Monkey, were packed in the hours leading to kick-off.

However, both stopped serving at 7.05pm and were not open after the match, while alcohol was not on sale in the visiting section of the stadium.

After the final whistle, large numbers of supporters from both teams congregated at the railway station to wait for the 10.08pm train, although there were no incidents of disorder.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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