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Arrests after Lancashire non-league football derby
A HANDFUL of football fans were arrested at Blackburn Railway Station after going to watch a non-league Lancashire derby.
Supporters of Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End helped swell the crowd at the Clitheroe versus Bamber Bridge game on Saturday as their teams weren’t playing during the international break.
Police said the fixture passed off without incident, but they had to escort the travelling Bamber Bridge supporters on to the first train home.
With help from Network Rail, a team of Ribble Valley officers contained the 60 fans to one carriage where they were singing football songs.
They were joined at Langho by a support unit and made six arrests on the train for drink and disorder offences.
The six people were given £80 fixed penalty notices or cautions at Blackburn Railway Station.
The rest made their way back to Bamber Bridge.
Sergeant Graham Marshall said a ‘unique set of circumstances’ contributed to the policing strategy.
He said: “There were no Premiership or Championship matches on Saturday and it was very good weather.
“A lot of the Bamber Bridge residents have mixed alliances - there were some travelling fans that were Blackburn Rovers and Preston North End season-ticket holders who just decided to come and watch the match.
“Yes, they had consumed quite a lot of alcohol, but it was pretty good-natured during the game.
“That was spoilt by one person kicking a wing mirror off a car in Clitheroe town centre.
He was arrested and the fans as a whole were then escorted on to the next train and back to Bamber Bridge.”
Sgt Marshall said it was more ‘stag-do’ type behaviour than hooligan element and reassured Clitheroe residents who witnessed the large group passing through the town centre around 5pm.
“The crowd of 402 was unexpectedly higher than normal, mostly due to Preston and Blackburn fans out for the trip.
"Unfortunately, some had a bit too much too drink. But they responded well to firm policing.”
The match at Clitheroe’s Shawbridge ground finished 1-1 after a last-gasp equaliser from the visitors.
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