Ultras’ new craze spreads to Scotland.


Thugs are turning the world of football hooliganism upside down – as part of a violent new craze inspired by foreign yobs.

Gangs who associate themselves with football clubs are mugging rival fans in order to steal their banners.

They then take photos of themselves with their ill-gotten “trophies” held upside down and post the snaps on social networking sites to goad their victims. The practice has spread to Scotland from Italy.

One recent incident saw a 30-strong mob of Hibernian-supporting youths steal a banner from three teenage Livingston fans in Leith, Edinburgh.

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Afterwards, photos appeared on micro-blogging site Twitter showing the stolen banner being held upside down.

The incident occurred following Hibs 2-1 home win over Livingston last Saturday.

The stolen yellow banner has the letters “DBM” painted on it, a reference to The Drum Beat Mafia, a group that follow Livingston FC.

This week, a message was posted on a football forum said to have been written by the mum of one of the Livingston teens.

She claimed her 17-year-old son and his friends were going for the train when they were chased by the gang.

She said her son hid in a café while his friend was attacked and had the banner taken from him.

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She wrote: “It is a total disgrace that people would act like this because of football. This could have been a serious or life-threatening attack if the Hibs fans had got their way.

“I know there must be a lot of decent Hibs fans out there but these people are letting their team down.”

Dr Geoff Pearson, a law lecturer at Liverpool University who has studied football violence, said hooligans in other countries “have been stealing banners for a while” and posing with them held upside down.

He said: “Often they steal them before a game and hold them upside down in their section during the match. Sometimes they even set fire to them.”

Former pro-boxer Bradley Welsh was part of a notorious gang of Hibs casuals in the 80s.

He said it was “sad” youths have resorted to this. “These kids are trying to express themselves and are turning to violence out of boredom,” the former member of the feared Capital City Service added.

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