Man in court over Dunston vs Gateshead match which saw hearse driven onto pitch

A hearse on the pitch at Dunston Football Club on the day of the pre-season friendly against Gateshead. Credit: NCJ Media

A man has appeared in court charged with criminal damage and a public order offence after a hearse was driven on to a football pitch, causing a match to be abandoned.

Darren Kay, 29, of no fixed abode, attended South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court for a brief hearing on Wednesday 31 January.

He is charged with criminal damage to the pitch and a gate at Dunston Football Club on 21 July last year.

Spectators watching Dunston UTS play Gateshead in a pre-season friendly were shocked when a hearse and a Subaru were driven on to the pitch at half-time.

The match between the two sides was called off following the incident in July last year. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Video shared on social media showed the vehicles being driven around in circles on the turf and a group of males wearing balaclavas then got out and walked on to the pitch.

They then threw leaflets on the pitch, drove away in the Subaru before police arrived but left the hearse on the grass.

The match between the two non-league sides was called off.

Kay is also charged with intending to cause the spectators harassment, alarm or distress.

Magistrates adjourned the case for four weeks and no pleas were entered.

Kay, dressed in a grey tracksuit and grey Nike trainers, was granted conditional bail to return to the same court on 1 March.

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