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Saints fan Charlie Whitmore chased by Millwall supporters before match
A MUM has written a letter of complaint to Hampshire’s police chief after her son was left too scared to go to a Saints game after being chased by away fans before Saturday’s match at St Mary’s Stadium.
Lisa Whitemore is outraged by police for claiming their operation to control Millwall supporters at the first game of the season was a success.
Officers made 14 arrests in connection with the 1-1 draw amid reports of a fist fight in the High Street.
But Lisa said that her 12- year-old son Charlie, pictured right, was forced to hide in a bush to escape a group of Millwall fans who had chased him for wearing his Saints shirt.
The Redbridge School pupil was with two friends walking through Hoglands Park opposite the Yates’ pub in Above Bar Street when they were targeted.
“They started running from the Millwall fans and a police officer told him to hide in a bush,”
“He was absolutely terrified. He got split up from his friends and when it was clear, ran down through St Mary’s and hid in the churchyard of St Mary’s Church. He then got in a taxi and came straight home because he was too scared to go to the game.
“How can the police call this a success when there are people out there who will chase and scare the life out of a 12-year-old boy?”
Lisa, from Millbrook, has written to Hampshire’s Chief Constable Alex Marshall calling for answers on how the police handled the crowds and why some pubs were allowed to serve alcohol to large numbers of fans before the 12.45pm kick-off on Saturday.
Hampshire police launched the joint operation with Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police because of the bad reputation of Millwall supporters.
After the game Chief Inspector Andy Bottomley said the match was followed by what he described as “some minor incidents of disorder”.
Superintendent Terry Stevens said: “Given the thousands of fans who attended the match, the policing of the game passed successfully without significant incident.
“We committed resources throughout the day and were able to call on the support of other police forces to help contain any problems and keep both sets of fans and the general public safe while minimising any disruption to the city as a whole.”