Football fans locked up by police before game

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A GROUP of Sheffield United fans were effectively put under house arrest... in a pub.

The supporters had stopped for a drink at the Blue Stoops in Dronfield town centre, en route to their team’s League One derby game at Chesterfield, on Saturday when police would not let them leave.

A number of Derbyshire Police vans pulled up at the pub, halting traffic on High Street.

One officer with a video camera started recording the group of supporters.

The officers told fans they were being confined in the pub until a given time, and then arrangements would be made to get them to the B2net stadium in time for kick-off.

Some fans unhappy at being locked in the pub complained and claimed they had been deprived of their liberty even though there was no trouble.

One fan asked a Derbyshire police officer whether they were using ‘kettling’ - a technique employed for crowd control. Officers surround and confine protesters to stop them leaving an area.

He said decent fans were being ‘tarred with the same brush’ as troublemakers.

The officer told the fan they were trying to prevent the possibility of disorder.

The PC said they received intelligence suggesting that there were ‘a couple of characters’ in the group known to police.

This year three teenagers brought a case against the Metropolitan Police use of ‘kettling’ to the High Court in London, claiming that it contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights but they lost their action.

A Derbyshire Police spokeswoman said: “Intelligence officers from both forces spotted a number of fans in the pub who were linked to football disorder and known to police as being part of the risk group. Officers had received a number of pieces of information about potential disorder between rival fans.

“Police took the decision to keep the fans in Dronfield and escort them to the ground to minimise the possibility of disorder. The match was policed robustly and as a result there was no serious disorder.”

There were five arrests on the day.