Cops ar­rest 20 fans af­ter clashes at Celtic friendly

Evening Times - - NEWS - By TOM TORRANCE

MORE than 20 foot­ball fans were ar­rested af­ter trou­ble broke out ahead of a friendly match be­tween Sun­der­land and Celtic.

Pic­tures on so­cial me­dia show a num­ber of clashes in Sun­der­land, in­clud­ing one at a book sign­ing in the city by English De­fence League founder Tommy Robin­son.

Northum­bria Po­lice said 21 ar­rests were made on Satur­day af­ter­noon, the ma­jor­ity of which were for drunk and dis­or­derly be­hav­iour, breach of the peace and the use of il­le­gal py­rotech­nics.

In one in­ci­dent, an 18-year-old man needed hos­pi­tal treat­ment for a head in­jury. Po­lice said he has since been dis­charged and in­quiries are con­tin­u­ing.

Celtic won 5-0 in the game, which was or­gan­ised by spon­sors to mark 20 years since Sun­der­land’s Sta­dium of Light opened and 50 years since Celtic won the Euro­pean Cup.

As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble He­len McMil­lan said: “Fans come here to en­joy the foot­ball, many with young chil­dren, and we here at Northum­bria Po­lice do all we can to en­sure they en­joy the day, which­ever team they sup­port.

“Un­for­tu­nately we did have some in­ci­dents of dis­or­der in and around Sun­der­land be­tween Sun­der­land and Celtic fans and while po­lice dealt with them quickly, it is a shame these types of in­ci­dents hap­pen at all.”

Sev­eral videos are con­tin­u­ing to cir­cu­late on­line show­ing the ex­tent of the dis­or­der. While one widelyshared clip showed fans dressed in green and white in al­ter­ca­tions with lo­cals and po­lice, another shows a flare ap­pear­ing to be thrown into a shop where for­mer Tommy Robin­son was con­duct­ing a book sign­ing while wear­ing a Rangers top.

Ear­lier in the day, Northum­bria po­lice was forced to is­sue a short state­ment on its so­cial me­dia pages deny­ing there had been a death.

The force said at 5.30pm: “There are cur­rently ru­mours spread­ing that there is wide scale dis­or­der in and around our city cen­tres and that there has been a fa­tal­ity– this is not true.”

The match at the Sta­dium of Light, top, and above, Tommy Robin­son

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