Two Preston North End fans have been banned from football matches for three years
Ryan Parker, 19, of Moorside Avenue, Ribbleton, and Craig Billington, 22, of Newfield Drive, Blackburn, were allegedly involved in disorder at games, Preston Magistrates’ Court was told. Police say the pair were members of the Preston Foot Patrol (PFP) gang, made up of around 30 people aged between 16-22.
Parker was allegedly involved in violence or disorder around matches. Police said he had “caused or contributed” to the trouble between March 2006 and September 2010. And Billington was allegedly involved in disorder between July 2007 and September 2010, the court was told.
Officers applied for civil banning orders for the pair, meaning police have to prove to the court that the pair are “likely to engage in violence and disorder” and a banning order would prevent them from doing so. Both Billington and Parker have been convicted of violent disorder over a brawl in the Academy pub on Church Street, Preston, on St George’s Day, for which they will be sentenced on December 23 along with three other defendants.
PC Paul Elliott, Preston police’s football intelligence officer, said the Academy incident was a “trigger offence” which led to police applying for the bans. He added: “They are in relation to lads who were part of the PFP risk supporters.Over a period of two to three years they have been profiled by myself in relation to their activities at football matches, associating with that risk group and they have previously been involved in disorder in Hull and Staffordshire.”
He said that the PFP group are “fairly well organised.” But because of the powers of civil banning order, which stop hooligans going into the city centre for four hours before or after a match and prevents them from going to Deepdale or any other ground, the activities of the PFP at football have reduced.
Some of the group attached themselves to the English Defence League, which held a protest in the city last month.
PC Elliott added: “They have declined over the past 18 months since we started getting these banning orders. We have not really seen them. At the last Friday night game against Hull on November 12 there were 20-25 Preston Foot Patrol lads out in the New Hall Lane area handing out EDL leaflets for the Preston EDL event. They have moved away from football because of the restrictions we have placed on them. It has been years since there has been disorder at Deepdale stadium itself.”
Lancashire Evening Post
Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up