Football loving pubgoers are being targeted in an effort to show disorder the red card ahead of this Sunday’s Sunderland versus Newcastle United derby match.
Police in South Tyneside are working with the landlords of pubs where the supporters are expected to gather in an effort to prevent a repeat of the violence that marred the aftermath of the side’s April meeting in Newcastle.
This week’s game, a 1.30pm kick off, is at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light where previous derby matches have passed without incident but officers are repeating advice given out in the past.
This includes a number of suggestions for licensees, including that bar staff should be extra vigilant in refusing to serve customers who are drunk and displaying notices warning people that abuse or violence will not be tolerated.
Many landlords also continue to follow advice given by police that no football shirts should be worn in their pubs after a certain time in an effort to stop supporters staying for hours after the game ends, getting drunk and increasing the risk of trouble.
Chief Inspector Brian Walker, from South Tyneside area command, said: “Our engagement with licensees prior to previous derby matches has proved a success which is why we are repeating it again for Sunday’s match.
“We’re know bars where fans will gather. These premises are well run and we’re not expecting disorder, but it’s only right we give advice so that landlords can be prepared.
“We also understand tensions run high during derby games. We’re not out to spoil anyone’s fun, but we will take action if any disorder arises on the day.
“As always, extra officers will be patrolling throughout the day to combat any disorder and offer reassurance to pub staff and customers.”
In April ugly scenes erupted in Newcastle city centre following the Magpies 3-0 defeat by the Black Cats at St James’ Park with many supposed Newcastle United supporters – many of whom had not been in the ground for the match – clashed with police on St James’ Boulevard, Strawberry Place, Westgate Road, and near Central Station, hurling masonry, bottles and flares, charging police horse lines and burning wheelie bins.
So far 89 people – including 40 more just this week – have been charged following the violence, with a number of adults and teenagers jailed for their roles in the riot.