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Five arrests as 'thunderflash' pyrotechnics, flares and smoke bombs set off during Chelsea vs Crystal Palace Premier League tie

PUBLISHED: 09:55 06 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:39 06 April 2017

Various pyrotechnics recovered by police at Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Various pyrotechnics recovered by police at Chelsea v Crystal Palace

Archant

Police are appealing for witnesses

What happens if you are caught with a flare at a football match?

It is illegal to possess, or try to smuggle pyrotechnic devices into a football match under the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc) Act 1985.

The 2012/2013 season saw a record 71 arrests for “possession of a firework/flare at a sporting event”, an increase of 154% from the previous season.

Of the 172 reported pyrotechnic incidents in the 2012/13 season, 164 were committed by away supporters.

Are fans getting jailed for it?

Yes. In February 2013, two Chelsea fans spent 28 days behind bars and were given six year football banning orders for taking smoke bombs into Swansea City’s Liberty Stadium. Their appeal for the sentence was thrown out.

A Sidcup man is one of five people arrested in the wake of Saturday’s Premier League London derby between Chelsea and Crystal Palace.

Flares, smoke bombs and ‘thunderflash’ pyrotechnics were set off during the match, with more devices found hidden inside toilets at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea’s home stadium.

A rucksack full of pyrotechnics was also found hidden in nearby Brompton Cemetery.

A 31-year-old man arrested during the match has been charged with possession of a flare, while a 24-year-old man was arrested on the same offence and has been released on bail until mid-May.

Meanwhile an 18-year-old man from Sidcup and a 27-year-old South Norwood man have accepted a caution after they was arrested on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs.

A 19-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of assault and possessing Class A drugs has been released on bail until mid-May pending further enquiries.

Insp Matt Ashmead from the Met’s Central Football Unit said: “Several devices were let off inside the away end at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and officers seized a number of other devices on the day as well.

“Flares and pyrotechnic devices inside stadia are very dangerous and they can reach extremely high temperatures. There is a very good reason that they are banned from football matches, as they can cause horrific injuries and can also be frightening for the many young fans that attend matches.

“Some fans might think that setting off a flare is a good way to support your team, but it is putting yourself and fellow fans at risk. Bringing flares to football matches is completely unacceptable and you can expect to be arrested and charged if you are caught in possession of such a device.”

A 19-year-old man who was arrested on suspicion of assault and possessing Class A drugs has been released on bail until mid-May pending further enquiries.

Officers continue to review footage from the match to identify any other individuals involved in setting off pyrotechnic devices inside the stadium.

Anyone with information can contact the Central Football Unit via 101, or by tweeting @MetCC.

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