Police have highlighted the activities of a ‘small group’ of hooligans who, they say, have latched onto Ballymena United.
Commenting on the PSNI Ballymena Facebook page, a member of the local Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Whilst we appreciate the vast majority of persons attending the match (tomorrow night’s match between Ballymena and Ards) will be genuine supporters, who are there to support their team, police would urge anyone intent on going to the match for more sinister reasons to stay away.
“We are aware of a small group of persons, who regularly attend matches with the intent of causing disorder. Several of these persons even arrive to watch only the last 10 minutes, so they can get involved in bother after the match.
“Police are currently working to identify persons involved in previous disorder with a view to prosecuting them. CCTV has been viewed and officers on duty will be briefed as to who to look out for.”
The PSNI spokesperson added: “Due to the risk of persons getting hurt, police will be taking a zero tolerance approach, and anyone caught involved in disorder risks prosecution, ASBO’s or Football Banning Orders. These can have serious consequences on future prospects.
“The persons involved in disorder appear to be aspiring to imitate football violence in other countries. The persons involved have even come up with a name for themselves. Although I’m sure most people could suggest a few more appropriate alternatives!
“Parents have a responsibility to know where their children are, who they are with and what they are up to. If they are going to the match, why not go with them?”