A SAINTS fan has been slapped with a three-year football ban after he hurled chewing gum at opposition fans, a court heard.

James Durkin, 19, launched an object at fans during Southampton’s Premier League clash with Newcastle United in March.

A court heard how the game began with a goal to Southampton in the 25th minute, after which there was a “surge” from a group of Saints fans.

Some Magpie fans then began complaining they had been pelted with objects sparking a police response.

However, a goal from Newcastle striker, Chris Wood, led to further outbursts.

READ MORE: Saints: Hampshire police issues stern warning to Southampton FC fans

A Crown Prosecution Service solicitor told how police spotted Durkin shouting abuse at Newcastle fans.

During questioning, he told officers he had thrown his chewing gum towards opposition supporters.

Appearing at Southampton Magistrates' Court on Thursday, Durkin of Cleveland Road, Southampton pleaded guilty to throwing a missile at a spectator’s area.

David Finny, prosecuting, said the defendant had told police “I just threw my chewing gum” and that he did it in the “heat of the moment”.

Mr Finny went on to say “he could have hit someone in the eye”.

But defence solicitor, Steven Tricker said that he “regrets the offence” and “let his emotions get the better of him”.

READ MORE: Fight at Southampton v Newcastle PL game sparks calls for action

In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Southampton FC handed Durkin a three-year ban from attending any Saints games.

At his sentencing this week, the Chair of the magistrates, Ms Akhtar, handed him a three-year football banning order, barring him from any football match in the UK.

He was also ordered to pay a £100 fine, £34 victim surcharge and £85 in court costs.

Following the trial, PC Andy Darbyshire, Hampshire Constabulary’s dedicated football officer for Southampton said the force “will always try and prevent going before the court with education and preventative measures”.

He added though that the force “will take people to court to stop further violence at stadiums”.

An investigation was also launched after the Newcastle clash following two people being assaulted during the game.

The incident sparked calls for more to be done to keep people safe when attending matches.

A message from the Editor

Thank you for reading this article - we appreciate your support in reading the Daily Echo.

Subscribing to the Echo means you have unrestricted access to the latest news, features and Saints coverage - all with an advertising-light website.

You will also have full access to Saintsplus, your new home for Southampton FC tactical analysis, features and much, much more.

Don't take my word for it - subscribe here to see for yourself.

Follow the latest breaking news in the Southampton area by joining our Facebook group - Southampton News - Breaking News and Incidents

Follow the latest court and crime news on our dedicated Facebook group - Hampshire Court and Crime News