A supporter at a Gillingham game has been hit with a three-year Football Banning Order after pleading guilty to the racial harassment of a Peterborough player.
Tony Edward Jackson, 33, of Medway Road in Sheerness, was arrested during a League One fixture between Gillingham and Peterborough United at Priestfield Stadium on Tuesday 16 September.
He was later charged with a racially aggravated public order offence, which he admitted and as well as the banning order, he was given a community order to carry out 40 hours of unpaid work within 12 months, £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
Medway Magistrates’ Court heard that during the second half, Jackson was sat behind the Peterborough dug-out and was heard by the victim shouting abuse at a player leaving the pitch during a substitution.
It caused the victim, who was sitting on the substitutes’ bench to turn and look at him. As he did so, Jackson shouted a racially offensive comment which was likely to incite public disorder.
Officers were made aware of the incident and arrested Jackson at the stadium.
Jackson was served a three-year Football Banning Order, which precludes him from attending any football match above Conference South level, which is the second tier of non-league football, upwards.
The orders are a preventative measure designed to stop potential troublemakers from travelling to and attending football matches, both at home and abroad. Anyone who commits a football-related offence at one of these stadiums can be arrested and a Football Banning Order applied for.
These totally unacceptable comments made by Jackson are so out of place in what is a family-friendly environment and will simply not be tolerated.
Instances like this happen very rarely, but my officers attend matches to ensure those thinking of ruining the game and match day experience for others will be swiftly ejected and put before the courts where they run the risk of being banned from entering football grounds for several years.
We want to work with clubs and the FA and other organisations to stamp out such deplorable behaviour and would encourage anyone who experiences or hears anyone committing these types of offences to report it to police.
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