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Euro 2012 ban for Hampshire hooligans

Police dealing with football fans in Hampshire

Police dealing with football fans in Hampshire

First published in New Forest Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Deputy News Editor

HAND over your passports or you will be arrested.

That’s the demand being made to Hampshire’s football hooligans this summer ahead of Euro 2012.

Letters have been posted to 84 thugs living in the county and the Isle of Wight who have all caused, or been involved in, football related violence in recent years.

The letter reminds them they will not be able to travel to Poland and the Ukraine for next month’s tournament – and orders them to hand in their passports to police from next Monday.

Those receiving the letters have all received football banning orders in court when they have appeared on charges relating to disorder at matches.

They include dozens of Saints fans who got involved in trouble as tempers flared following Saints’ home defeat against south coast rivals Portsmouth in February 2010.

Violent scenes marred the end of the game, which Saints lost 4-1, and centred on the Freeborn Garage with coins and a chair thrown from the crowd as the two sides goaded each other outside St Mary’s stadium.

A total of 25 fans found themselves hauled before the courts, with a further eight also charged with post match violence away from the ground.

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All those convicted were handed Football Banning Orders – and it’s under those terms that they are barred from attending any football match in England and Wales.

They can last between three and ten years and breaching the terms of the order can land you in prison for up to six months.

However the legislation also extends to any fixtures abroad and means those with an FBO are banned from travelling to watch England compete in tournaments.

Letters were posted in recent days to those living in the county, warning them they must hand over their passports at a local police station.

However, there can be special measures applied for in a court for anyone planning a holiday in another part of the world at the same time as the contest.

Across the country there are some 3,000 people who currently have the orders.

Hampshire police say there will not be any specialist police operations at Southampton Airport to try and prevent football thugs flying out as there are no flights leaving the city to the host countries.

Superintendent Rick Burrows, football commander, said: “The Euro 2012 championship in Poland and Ukraine will be a hugely enjoyable footballing event and all true fans should be encouraged to go and enjoy it.

“For that small minority who wish to engage in football related disorder, be warned that the Polish and Ukraine police will be robust.

“Anyone with a football banning order is not able to travel there and a local operation by Hampshire Constabulary will ensure that does not happen.”

Nick Hawkins, Hampshire’s chief prosecutor and the national lead on football violence, said: “Anyone subject to a Football Banning Order (FBO) who fails to surrender their passport whether or not they attempt to travel to Poland or Ukraine is likely to be arrested and prosecuted.

“From May 29, people who have been issued with an FBO will have to surrender their passport.

This means that all individuals subject to a ban will receive a letter telling them to report to a designated police station to surrender their passport. Unlike previous tournaments those banned will not have to report on match days as surrender of their passport is now deemed sufficient.”

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