Five arrested in pre-World Cup crackdown

Five known football hooligans have been arrested in dawn raids as part of a pre-World Cup crackdown to enforce football banning orders, police said today.

The men, aged between 20 and 44, were detained at addresses in Birmingham, Wolverhampton and Wednesbury, West Midlands, during the first phase of a blitz against fans who have failed to hand in passports.

About 25 officers were involved in the operation to arrest the men yesterday and today at their homes.

Pc Dave Mapp, from West Midlands Police's Football Banning Orders Unit, warned of further arrests in the next few days - with some fans risking missing out on seeing England's opening match against the United States on Saturday night.

The officer said: "We have arrested five and they will be before the courts next week.

"We have another 10 or so on our imminent list of doors to knock, so if we get to them on Saturday they risk spending the evening in a cell and missing the game."

Currently 314 people are the subject of a football banning order in the West Midlands, but only about 90 per cent obeyed a recent instruction to hand in their passport.

The maximum sentence for breaching a banning order is six months in jail or a £5,000 fine.

Pc Mapp added: "We are all gearing up for what promises to be an exciting World Cup and want fans to have a great time with a couple of drinks and enjoy watching their team play.

"But arrests like these should be a timely reminder that they need to do so safely and responsibly."