Peacehaven football hooligan given a five-year banning order after Euro 2015 violence

Photo: (L-R from top): Gavin Sweet, Sheridan Hawkes, Jake Stroeykens, Liam Shorten and Lee Thornton SUS-160807-151856001
Photo: (L-R from top): Gavin Sweet, Sheridan Hawkes, Jake Stroeykens, Liam Shorten and Lee Thornton SUS-160807-151856001

Five football hooligans from Sussex, including one from Peacehaven, have been given lengthy banning orders following an outbreak of violence at the Euro 2016 tournament in France.

The Brighton and Hove Albion supporters were among a group of about a dozen English fans who were involved in a confrontation with Russian fans at a square in Marseille – said Sussex Police.

The incident occurred at about 2pm on June 11, just hours before England played Russia in their first game of the tournament.

Gavin Sweet, Jake Stroeykens, Liam Shorten and Sheridan Hawkes were all seen by English football spotters, working in France, to confront Russian fans and engage in disorder.

After being identified by Surrey and Sussex Police’s dedicated football officers, the suspects were each served with a notice to appear at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on June 27.

Sweet, 35, of South Coast Road, Peacehaven, and Hawkes, 26, of Kingston Way, Shoreham, who were both caught on camera throwing street furniture at the Russians and each received a Football Banning Order (FBO) for the maximum term of five years – said police.

Stroeykens, 24, of Windlesham Close, Portslade, and Shorten, 23, of Old Shoreham Road, Southwick, were each banned for three years.

Lee Thornton, 26, of Elm Grove, Brighton, was also identified as part of the group and banned for three years at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on June 30.

None of the defendants contested the decision of the court to impose the FBOs.

Chief Inspector Justina Beeken said, “Before the tournament we warned football fans that disruption and disorder on any level – whether at home or abroad – will not be tolerated.

“These individuals either failed to take note of our advice or they chose to completely ignore it and they only have themselves to blame for the lengthy bans they have been hit with.

“It’s disappointing because they have tarnished the reputation of the many British fans who travelled to France to support their team, the vast majority of whom have been extremely well behaved.

“But by acting quickly and robustly, we have prevented these hooligans from travelling back to France to cause more trouble.

“Their actions will also affect them for many years to come.”

The individuals came to the attention of police who captured their actions on camera while under cover in Marseille.

Through the English policing delegation in France, information and intelligence was sent to the UK to be reviewed by the UK Football Policing Unit.

This included working closely with Surrey and Sussex Police’s dedicated football officers, one of whom – PC Darren Balkham – was in France for the operation in a national capacity.

He said: “All four men were seen to confront the Russian fans. Some were seen throwing street furniture and then confronting the under cover police who filmed it. This was in a square in the main area of Marseille and one waitress could be heard shouting at them to stop.

“The orders served against them reflect the poor behaviour demonstrated by some supporters and the seriousness in which we deal with such incidents. They brought shame on the good work carried out by organisations including the Football Supporters’ Federation and the Football Association over many years.”

As part of the Football Banning Orders, the five men are not permitted to attend any regulated football match in the UK for the duration of the ban.

Sweet, Stroeykens, Shorten and Hawkes are all subject to the following conditions:

Not to go within one mile of Brighton railway station four hours before and four hours after kick-off of any home fixture;

Not to go within one mile of the Amex Stadium four hours before and four hours after kick-off of any home fixture;

Not to go to the town or city where Brighton and Hove Albion FC play an away fixture on that date;

Not to go to the town or city where the England national team play outside of London on that date;

Not to go within one mile of Wembley Stadium when the England national team play any fixture at that stadium on that date.

Thornton is subject to the following conditions:

Not to go to The Railway Bell pub, The Royal Standard pub or West Street in Brighton four hours before and four hours after kick-off of any Brighton fixture;

Not to go within one mile of the Amex Stadium four hours before and four hours after kick-off of any home fixture, except for work;

Not to go to the town or city where Brighton and Hove Albion FC play an away fixture on that date;

Not to go to the town or city where the England national team play outside of London on that date;

Not to go within one mile of Wembley Stadium when the England national team play any fixture at that stadium on that date.

A Brighton and Hove Albion Football Club spokesperson said, “Brighton and Hove Albion is extremely disappointed to learn that a number of season ticket holders have received football banning orders following their involvement in violent disturbances at the Euro 2016 tournament.

“The club has a zero tolerance policy towards any kind of anti-social behaviour, and individuals who participate in this kind of disorder are not welcome at our matches.

“Therefore, in addition to any banning order that they might receive from the authorities, anyone found guilty of such offences will also be excluded indefinitely from Albion’s home matches and unable to purchase away tickets through the club.”

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