A FOOTBALL thug suspect is behind bars after a hawk-eyed West Midlands Police officer spotted him in a photo showing fans enjoying a pre-season tour – despite bail conditions banning him from attending matches.
The officer – part of the force’s specialist football unit – noticed the West Brom fan in images uploaded onto the club’s official website.
He’d travelled to Sweden for Albion’s pre-season warm-up game with Malmo on July 19 and was pictured amongst the crowd on stadium terracing.
However, the 30-year-old was on court bail in relation to a violent disorder charge stemming from clashes between rival fans at West Brom’s match with QPR at the Hawthorns on April 14.
And one of those conditions prevented him from attending any West Brom match.
On his return to the UK he was arrested by police and on Wednesday (August 1) appeared at Birmingham Magistrates Court where he admitted breaching the terms of his bail.
He was remanded into prison ahead of his next court appearance today (Monday August 6).
Sergeant Donna Jones from West Midlands Police’s football unit, said: “We work very closely with all six professional football clubs in the West Midlands…our officers know by sight the ‘risk’ supporters and will use all powers at our disposal to tackle their behaviour.[pullquote_left]It was a fantastic spot by one of the team to recognise him from the photographs – his was just one of hundreds of heads in a crowd shot so to pick him out was incredible.[/pullquote_left]
“It was a fantastic spot by one of the team to recognise him from the photographs – his was just one of hundreds of heads in a crowd shot so to pick him out was incredible.
“Anyone tempted to ignore football bans in the West Midlands needs to understand they are likely to be caught out and, as a result, risk further punishment or an extended ban.
“It’s important to stress that individuals like this are in a minority who are associated with trouble at football matches. Most genuine fans simply want to have fun and cheer on their team – and they can do that more safely when risk supporters are banned from grounds or behind bars.”
The suspect hooligan is scheduled to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Monday to hear accusations he was part of large fight with QPR fans outside the Hawthorns on April 14 this year.