Five men have been sentenced for the parts they played in an altercation involving rival football fans.
Daniel John Jones, 28, of Cliveden Road, Chester; Elliot Seville, 23, of St James Avenue, Upton, Chester; Louis Neal, 18, of Forest Road, Tarporley; Bobby Christopher, 25, of Ceiriog Road, Wrexham; and Jack McKnight, 20, of Alexandra Road, Wrexham, all pleaded guilty to affray at Chester Magistrates’ Court on Friday 13 April.
They returned to the court for sentencing on Wednesday 18 April.
The affray charges relate to an incident that occurred in Chester city centre just before 3pm on Wednesday 8 November 2017. Chester FC were hosting Wrexham AFC that day in a National League match kicking off at 7.45pm.
A group of Chester FC supporters – which included Jones, Neal and Seville – converged with a group of Wrexham AFC supporters – which included Christopher and McKnight – at The Cross on Eastgate Street and fights broke out between the rival fans.
CCTV footage of the incident shows Jones, who at the time was serving a football banning order following a previous conviction for a football-related offence, acting aggressively towards the group of Wrexham fans and provoking them.
Seville can also be seen acting in an aggressive and provocative manner.
Neal can be seen running towards the Wrexham fans and throwing punches at one of them.
The CCTV footage also shows Christopher throwing a punch at a Chester fan and McKnight picking up a large bollard and holding it above his head as though he was about to throw it at Chester supporters.
McKnight put the bollard down after being ordered to by a police officer.
After reviewing the CCTV footage, District Judge Nicholas Sanders said that he had ‘seen a throwback to past ages where football hooliganism was rife’.
He sentenced Jones to six months in prison and gave him an eight-year football banning order.
Judge Sanders told Jones: “You were clearly leading and out front and continued to cause problems throughout the day leading up to the match.”
Neil, Seville, Christopher and McKnight were each given a six-month curfew order and a three-year football banning order.
The quintet were also ordered to pay court costs and victim surcharges.
They were all arrested in a joint Cheshire Police and North Wales Police operation on Tuesday 6 March.
Detective Sergeant Stuart Needham, who led the investigation for Cheshire Police, said: “The altercation took place in the city centre in the middle of the day when there were lots of people around, putting innocent people in danger. Shoppers moved to get away from the violence and shopkeepers locked their doors to stop the fighting fans from coming inside.
“If it was not for the intervention of police officers the incident could have been far worse than it was.
“We hope this case sends out a strong message that such unacceptable behaviour from football fans will not be tolerated.
“If you go to a football match looking to cause trouble or get involved in altercations with rival fans your actions will be thoroughly investigated and you will be brought to justice.”