Concerns over site of Sheffield Wednesday stadium fast-food stall

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POLICE want to stop a burger van trading outside one of the stands at Sheffield Wednesday Football Club - because they fear the vehicle could get in the way if there is an incident of disorder.

Martin and Tracey Judge, of Hot Spot Catering, are applying to renew a Sheffield Council street trading permit for the forecourt of the Leppings Lane end of the Hillsborough ground.

But Inspector Neil Mutch, of South Yorkshire Police, a matchday policing commander, has objected to the bid.

He said: “The apron at Leppings Lane has particular challenges in relation to the policing of football at Hillsborough and is a particular point of potential conflict between rival fans.

“As the threat of public order rises, this area requires large numbers of uniform police officers to ensure violence does not break out.”

Mr Mutch said the problem was compounded by away coaches picking up and dropping off outside the stand.

He said officers aim to encourage fans to disperse quickly after a game - whereas a burger van would ‘frustrate’ the tactic by creating a blockage and encouraging fans to linger.

He said there have ‘often been no issues’ with the burger van at the location in the past, but it was his ‘preference’ for the van not to be there in future.

John Rutherford, stadium operations manager at Sheffield Wednesday, has backed the police objections.

He said: “With promotion to the Championship, we are anticipating larger visiting supporters’ groups and feel the unit in this pitch will create problems for policing.”

Mr and Mrs Judge were unavailable for comment.

Members of the council’s licensing board are set to debate the application at a meeting on Thursday.