'No one can hide in the crowd' - Portishead man charged after football disputes

PUBLISHED: 11:01 16 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:01 16 February 2019

The 'skirmishes' broke out after the Bristol City FC and Swansea City FC match on February 2. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

The 'skirmishes' broke out after the Bristol City FC and Swansea City FC match on February 2. Picture: Avon and Somerset Constabulary

Avon and Somerset Constabulary

A Portishead man has been charged after 'skirmishes' broke out at a Bristol City football match earlier this month.

Paul Villis, aged 48, was charged, along with two other men, with causing fear and provocation of violence at a Bristol City football match on February 2.

The home side were facing Swansea City at Ashton Gate Stadium when mounted police officers and police dogs were called to separate the two teams.

Two pubs were reportedly damaged and a police dog needed treatment for a leg injury.

An officer was struck in the face by a coin and a mounted officer and a colleague were pushed into a fence.

A police spokesman said: “The match saw pockets of anti-social behaviour and violence inside and outside the ground before and after the match.

“It resulted in officers from Avon and Somerset police, South Wales Police and British Transport Police dealing with skirmishes.

“Mounted officers and dog handlers helped to separate the fans.”

Ryan Greenslade, aged 26 from Brislington, Christoper Scott Dennett, from Totterdown, and Kevin Morrison, aged 32 from Knowle, were also charged.

Greenslade and Dennett will face magistrates on March 21, while Morrison and Villis will appear on March 28.

All four have been handed banning notices and will no longer be able to attend matches at the ground.

Superintendent Rhys Hughes said: “This is just the start of our operation. We’re already planning our next operations.

“Neither we nor the football clubs will tolerate this type of behaviour. No one can hide in the crowd.

“Successful convictions should result in the courts issuing football banning orders.

“These prevent people convicted of football-related offences from attending games or following their national side abroad.

“We work closely with our local football clubs sharing information. We’re all committed to stamping out this type of behaviour.

“I’d urge anyone else who was involved in the disorder to hand themselves in before we come knocking on their door.”

Mark Kelly, managing director of Ashton Gate Stadium, said: “I hope today’s arrests, along with the ongoing operation, send a clear message to fans.

“We take pride in our stadium being a safe and secure environment for all to enjoy the game they love.

“We have a zero tolerance to such anti-social and violent behaviour. Any fan found to have breached the Ground Regulations will be issued with a stadium ban.”

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