Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Police appeal to help identify soccer louts

Police have issued a public appeal to help identify two men who were involved in the violence that followed a football match between Newry City and Portadown in April.

Fighting broke out between a number of rival fans after the fixture at the Newry Showgrounds on Friday 20th April, resulting in injury to two bystanders, one of whom was a pensioner who required hospital treatment.

As part of the police investigation, detectives reviewed footage of the incident and have established evidence of offences against nine suspects.  Seven of the accused have been apprehended and questioned and now police are taking steps to trace the two who, as yet, remain unidentified.

Posting on its Facebook page, the PSNI in Craigavon commended Portadown FC for assisting their investigation and praised its swift response in banning its members involved.

“The reaction from Portadown FC showed, to put it mildly, exceptional leadership. They not only condemned those who were involved, but moved remarkably quickly in taking steps to issue banning notices to those who had used the guise of the club name for pure thuggery. They also worked along side us to help identify those who tried to blemish the club’s name,” the post read.

Officers went on to appeal for the public’s help to identify the unknown pair, shown in accompanying photos with their faces obscured, and revealed that the next step in their investigation will be “Op Exposure” where the images will be publicly displayed.

“It’s unsure where they are from, what club they claim association to and most importantly, who they are.  We would expect, indeed all right minded football fans would too, that both clubs and their fan base would cooperate fully with the investigation.  The next step in the investigation is simple- Op Exposure. The blur that is currently over these faces will be lifted. The images will be put out publicly. They’ll be identified and interviewed by ourselves.  If it goes to court, their rough addresses will be in the public domain.  It will be obvious what club affiliation they have and who, if anyone, has been hiding them.”

Seeking the information to avoid such a scenario, they added: “The best way to avoid further attention and certainly any further publicity is very straight forward- if you recognise yourself or someone in these photos from clothing, and you haven’t yet spoken to us, give us a call.  Indeed if this has suddenly jogged your memory and you remember something you hadn’t when first spoken to, we’d be only too glad to hear from you again.  Maybe seeing this image will help you remember who was brandishing goal posts on the roof that night?”

Anyone with further information or who can help identify the suspects in the images is asked to contact police on 101 and quote the incident number 1679 of 20/04/18.