'Litter-picking' sentences for Sheffield United and Grimsby fans involved in violence 'send wrong message'

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'Litter-picking' sentences handed down to Sheffield United and Grimsby Town fans involved in a 'pack-style attack' have been criticised by an MP.

A total of 26 supporters from the two clubs were last week sentenced for their part in violence and disorder which erupted before and after a pre-season friendly in Cleethorpes in July 2016.

Some of the men sentenced for their part in the violence and disorder

Some of the men sentenced for their part in the violence and disorder

The culprits were given football banning orders totalling 76 years and ordered to carry out hundreds of hours of unpaid work between them.

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But while some received suspended prison sentences, meaning they could be locked up if they re-offend, none were jailed for their crimes.

Speaking in parliament on Thursday, Melanie Onn, Labour MP for Great Grimsby, said: "Recently 26 out of 30 people involved in a pack-style attack were sentenced after some excellent work by Humberside Police.

"But constituents in Grimsby are really alarmed that they've effectively been given a sentence of litter-picking.

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"Does he agree that sends the wrong message about attacks like this on defenceless individuals by groups?"

Responding, attorney general Jeremy Wright QC encouraged her to refer the sentences to the law office, should she wish, telling her she had 28 days in which to do so.

Humberside Police described the trouble as some of the worst football-related violence and disorders its officers had seen.

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Some of the men involved admitted violent disorder, while others pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of affray or section four public order offences.

Chief Superintendent Darren Downs, of Humberside Police, said: "We hope that the sentences imposed on those who got involved in the violence and disorder in July 2016 will serve as a warning to others.

"It won't be tolerated and we will take it very seriously.

"We know that the vast majority of fans want no part in the kind of behaviour we saw in Cleethorpes that day, and join us and the clubs in condemning the actions of those who did get involved."