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Supporters receive football banning orders

A number of football fans have been banned from attending matches due to violent or inappropriate behaviour at games.

Five men, supporting clubs across the South West, were last week fined and issued with football banning orders at Bristol Magistrates Court after pleading guilty to offences committed this season.

  • Callum Coen, 20 from Lawrence Weston, was convicted of using words or behaving in a way likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress during disorder with Cardiff City fans, prior to Bristol City’s home clash with the Welsh side on 21 January 2022. He received a three-year football banning order.
  • James Chipchase, 26 and from Bournemouth, has been convicted of possessing a firework, flare or pyrotechnic item during Bristol City’s home game with AFC Bournemouth on 16 October 2021. He received a three-year football banning order.
  • Aaron Guildford, 29 and from Yeovil, was convicted of the same offence in relation his actions at Yeovil Town’s game at home to Weymouth Town on 16 October 2021. A three-year football banning order was given to him.
  • Richard Hathaway, 19 and from Southmead, was convicted of using words or behaving in a way likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress and entering the playing area after Bristol Rovers’ 0-0 draw with Forest Green Rovers on 23 April 2022. Magistrates handed him a five-year football banning order.
  • Lee Wells, 38 and from Oldland Common, was given a three-year football banning order and ordered to carry out 100 hours of community service for his actions at the same game. He entered the playing area, was found to be in possession of a firework, flare or pyrotechnic item and convicted of using words or behaving in a way likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

In addition, a boy has also been banned from attending football matches after admitting assaulting a Scunthorpe United player in the closing stages of Bristol Rovers’ match at The Memorial Stadium on Saturday 7 May.

With Rovers closing in on automatic promotion, a large number of supporters ran onto the pitch while the game was still being played and one of the visiting players was pushed. The 16-year-old was given a caution, which includes being banned from attending football matches for a fixed period.

Avon and Somerset Police’s football unit have worked alongside the football club, the FA and the EFL in dealing with this matter.

Inspector Mark Nicholson said: “There have been several incidents in recent weeks up and down the country of football fans running onto pitches and being violent towards players. Rightly, that has been condemned across the football community.

“We appreciate football is a passionate game and Bristol Rovers fans wanted to celebrate a 7-0 victory that would clinch promotion.

“On another day though, a minority of fans – albeit a significant minority – could have cost the team promotion by running onto the pitch because the referee gave serious consideration to abandoning the match.

“It’s important fans of all football clubs understand their actions have consequences; violence and endangering public safety is not acceptable. Several fans supporting clubs across the South West will miss out on attending games next season and for years to come because of their irresponsible actions.”