Police appeal for help of genuine Puritans fans as third disorder investigation begins


Officers say a large number of supporters from both Banbury and Chester were involved in violent disorder and pyrotechnic offences on Tuesday

Thames Valley Police has begun an investigation after violent disorder and the use of pyrotechnics at Banbury United’s home game against Chester on Tuesday. Investigations are already underway following incidents at two previous games.

The club’s board has apologised to those who were at the match.   They say the behaviour of a minority is tarnishing the name of the club.

Officers are now appealing to “genuine” Puritans supporters to help them root out the trouble makers.

Police say violent disorder and pyrotechnic offences were committed during the match on Tuesday, involving a large number of supporters from both clubs.   Stewards and police officers broke this up.

There was then an incident of violent disorder after the match on Tramway near the ground, involving both sets of supporters, which officers also broke up.

No arrests have been made so far.

Dedicated football officer PC Jon Evans has warned that investigating these offences takes officers off dealing with issues for the wider community.   He said: “We have started an investigation into violent disorder and pyrotechnic offences which took place at the Banbury United FC and Chester FC National League North fixture at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium on Tuesday, involving both sets of supporters.

“Resources have had to be diverted from their regular duties to deal with these incidents, and this may have had some impact on the service we are able to provide to the wider public.

“However, we will always maintain our ability to respond to incidents where threat, harm and risk is at its greatest.

“We are appealing to anyone with information about these offences to contact us by calling 101 or making a report on our website, quoting reference number 43220505142.”

Banbury United issued a statement on Wednesday evening which said: “We would like to apologise to supporters at last night’s game who were impacted or affected by the issues at the game.

“Banbury United takes its responsibilities for spectator safety and enjoyment very seriously. We consult with all relevant parties and assess the risk before every game to try to put in place the right match day procedures. It’s clear from what happened last night, which saw the game unsegregated, the information we had was inaccurate.

“We will work with the police and Chester to identify the individuals involved from both clubs in the disorder and take appropriate action against them.

“We have also worked hard to help the police identify those involved in incidents at previous games.

“This is a very small minority who are tarnishing the name of the club, we recognise that the vast majority of supporters come to support the team in a positive way as we strive to compete in the National League.”

Investigations continue after following alleged incidents at previous games.   So far no arrests have been made in relation to events during the Puritans game against Bracknell Town.   One person was arrested for a public order offence in relation to the Hereford United match investigation, but was later de-arrested.

Witnesses are still being sought in both cases.

PC Evans said: “Unfortunately, a small group who have been attending Banbury United matches this season seem intent on causing problems and behaving in an inconsiderate and anti-social way.

“We are working with Banbury United and partner agencies to deal with these issues but we are also appealing to the majority of genuine Puritans supporters to help with this.

“If you are at a game and see or hear something which shouldn’t be happening at a football match, then make the club aware.

“If you have any information relating to our ongoing investigations, then please contact us.

“Together we hope to put a stop to these issues by working with the club, fans, the local authority and other partner agencies to significantly reduce the impact it is having on the match day experience for genuine fans attending games.”

Published: by Banbury FM Newsteam

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