England hooligans jailed over riot

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The Independent Online
AS POLICE in Toulouse called up reinforcements to deal with violent clashes expected when England supporters start arriving in the city for Monday's game between England and Romania, three more fans were jailed for their part in the Marseilles riots.

Two of those put behind bars yesterday were among the first England fans to start pelting a procession of Tunisian supporters with bottles and stones.

Criticism over the police response to rioting in Marseilles has spurred Toulouse into drafting in hundreds of extra officers for the England match.

Liam Yeomans, of Leicester, one of England's most notorious hooligans, and Mark Thompson, his accomplice, from Nuneaton, were both jailed for two months. Both will be banned from entering France for two years after their release.

Judge Jacqueline Faglin told Yeomans that the French authorities had been put on alert to expect trouble from him by the specialist anti-hooligan officers of Britain's National Criminal Intelligence Service. She told him: "You are known in the UK as a hooligan. The British police warned us you were here. You are category C."

She told Thompson that he was rated category B under the NCIS system, which recognises around 100 hard-core hooligans, rated C, as well as thousands of B-rated thugs who will join in mob violence once it has started but are thought unlikely to initiate it.

Paul Grover, 31, of Hanworth, west London, who was accused of throwing cans at police, was jailed for two months.

Four other England supporters were remanded in custody until 15 July.

Five England supporters have been deported from France following the unrest. The expulsions follow a call from the French Interior Minister, Jean-Pierre Chevenement, for mass deportation of fans involved in trouble. The five were removed from France after brief appearances before magistrates.

They do not include any of the nine fans brought before the courts on Monday evening, of whom three were jailed, five remanded in custody and one released on unconditional bail.

One of the expelled supporters had been arrested during the first wave of violence on Saturday evening.

One more had allegedly been involved in disturbances outside the Velodrome stadium immediately before the match between England and Tunisia. The other three were arrested at the Prado beach.

Three supporters have already been jailed for up to three months for their involvement in the violence on Sunday night. One of the hooligans, James Shayler, 34, from Naseby, Leicestershire, was a member of the official England Members Club and had been screened by the National Criminal Intelligence Services football unit. It is understood he had obtained a ticket for last Monday's game from the FA.

The total number of Britons arrested in Marseilles stands at 36 - four on Saturday, 27 on Sunday and five on Monday.

Glenn Hoddle, the England coach, yesterday welcomed the jail sentences. He said: "It was good to see that if any of them did cause problems that some ended up in jail. I wish we had that procedure at home."

The British Embassy said that French departmental prefects have the power to request deportations and would require no special extra powers from central government to do so. However, deportations without trial will dismay the British authorities, who need convictions in order to be able to impose restriction orders. They fear that those expelled may simply return to France.

Alain Bidou, head of Toulouse police, said that an extra 180 officers would be on duty for Monday's game against Romania. It brings to 1,300 the total police presence for the match, which is expected to be attended by 3,500 English fans. However, thousands more supporters may turn up without tickets. "We do have growing concerns," a police spokeswoman admitted.

Senior officers are particularly concerned about the potential for trouble in the centre of the medieval city - famous for its dish of cassoulet - sited on the river Garonne.

Dominique Baudis, the mayor of Toulouse, has cancelled the annual music festival, planned for this Sunday.

British police in Marseilles said that now the dust had settled, it seemed the financial cost of the damage wrought on the city was probably not as bad as had been feared at the height of the violence.

However, the deputy mayor of Marseilles, Renaud Muselier, is calling for the British authorities to pay compensation for the damage done.

He said: "Quite apart from the official excuses for this unfortunately predictable event our town is waiting for the British authorities to pay for the cost of damage. "The image and dignity of the cup, symbol of fraternal competition, demand that the England team be dismissed or excluded. The supporters behaved in the streets like louts."

The Home Secretary, Jack Straw, is seeking an early meeting with the French authorities to discuss the question of possible compensation.

t Mistakes by senior French police officers were yesterday blamed for the scale of the violence in Marseilles.

French police unions accused them of reacting slowly and making tactical errors.

Gerard Boyer, secretary-general of the Alliance, to which one in three French policemen belong, complained that specialist riot police should have been deployed earlier.

When the fighting began in Marseilles, he said, 1,400 out of 2,000 police were ordinary officers, not trained to deal with civil disorder. He complained that the authorities were "terrified" of seeming to over-react by sending in the riot police as soon as trouble broke out.

France's National Union of Uniformed Officers - which also claims about 33 per cent membership - said the violence in Marseilles was "neither bad luck nor inevitable". It said better preventive measures could have been taken. Instead, members were exposed to "urban guerrilla warfare''.