Football Fans Clash With Police After Devon Derby

POLICE officers clashed with rival football fans outside Home Park following Plymouth Argyle’s 1-0 win over Exeter City.

Groups of supporters from both sides had to be forcibly restrained after the final whistle on Saturday.

Three people were arrested and a

police officer was injured after a coin was thrown and hit him in the face.

Most spectators left the ground peacefully, but many stayed behind for about half an hour after the match to taunt the travelling fans as they were escorted to their coaches.

Officers used batons, dogs and horses to restrain the groups, and a police helicopter circled overhead as the incident threatened to escalate.

A smaller gathering of Exeter fans left the stadium on foot and had to be kept apart from Argyle fans as they walked up Outland Road.

Plymouth resident and business owner Christina Hudson had just come out of the Life Centre with her three-year-old daughter when the trouble started.

She said: “I turned around to see a wall of police with horses and then saw they seemed to be escorting hundreds of people.

“We didn’t feel very safe. As we rushed out of the way we watched from the park as the large crowd was escorted through the main path towards the train station. More local men were gathering on the golf course where police were trying to disperse them.

“I was shocked at the behaviour of so-called fans.”

Writing on Twitter, Argyle fan Dave Harland said: “Morons in the park today. Drunks, yobbish fans, people with dangerous dogs: not exactly good for tourism.”

About 160 police officers were involved in the operation, led by Superintendent Chris Eastwood. Some were drafted in from Avon and Somerset and South Wales Police.

The day started quietly, with officers and fans chatting and mingling in the sunshine about an hour before kick-off.

But the atmosphere changed when Exeter City’s coaches arrived and the Argyle fans started chanting and taunting them.

The visiting supporters were led to the away section of the stadium by a police cordon, and were kept inside for more than half an hour after the game then led out slowly past the waiting Argyle group.

Superintendent Chris Singer said the incident in which the officer was injured was “quite nasty” but that the police operation was successful.

“The vast majority of fans at the game were well behaved,” he said.

Those arrested were bailed pending further inquiries.

Supt Singer said that investigations were also going on following the release of flares at the game.

A spokesman for Plymouth Argyle said the club was unable to comment on what happened outside the ground after the match.

Report from ‘This is Plymouth’

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