Abusive Pool’s fan in court

A HARTLEPOOL United fan kicked open a gate being held shut by stewards and shouted abuse at opposition fans who had invaded the pitch.

Dwayne Douglas had been watching the Pools clash against Sheffield United, at Victoria Park, on March 31 when two of the away fans managed to get onto the pitch.

The incident, which took place seconds after the visiting team scored from a controversial penalty, caused an outburst of abuse from Pools fans, including shouting and swearing from 46-year-old Douglas.

He took hold of a gate, kicked it open and then took a few steps through it before he spotted police and ran from the ground.

Officers, however, caught up with him at the skate park near to Mill House Leisure Centre and he was arrested.

Prosecuting, Chris Atkinson said: “The incident took place at a Hartlepool United Football Club match against Sheffield United, towards the end of the match.

“Two Sheffield United fans entered the pitch and as they were being escorted from the ground past the Mill House stand a number of Hartlepool fans became agitated towards the pair.

“A number of fans were leaning on the fence shouting abuse and kicking and punching the fence.

Police noticed this defendant standing near a gate shouting with both hands raised, gesturing towards both the stewards and fans.

“He grabbed the gate, which was being held shut by the stewards, kicked it open and made a few steps through the gate.

“He shouted and swore towards the Sheffield fans when he noticed the police officers and ran back. He proceeded to run out of the ground and was arrested.”

Douglas, of Sitwell Walk, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to using threatening, words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress, on March 31.

Mitigating, Neil Taylor said: “He accepts use of the ‘f’ word in a public arena was wrong and inappropriate, hence his guilty plea.

“The circumstances were as he was walking out of the ground he was goaded by two Sheffield United supporters.

“Mr Douglas kicked the gate and shouted, but he realised he shouldn’t have.”

Chairman of the bench Janet Henderson fined him £35, ordered him to pay £50 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The two Sheffield United fans who ran onto the pitch, Greg Atherton and Matthew James Rawson, were each slapped with a three-year football banning order for their antics after appearing before Hartlepool magistrates charged with entering the field of play at a football match.

Atherton, 31, of Hillwood Close, Worksop, in Nottinghamshire, was also fined £250, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Rawson, 22, of Somersall Lane, in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, was fined £115, ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.