Northumbria police condemn Newcastle v Sunderland disorder


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The Independent Online

Police investigating disorder at a Premier League football ground which saw advertising hoardings pulled down and thrown on to to pitch have said such incidents will not be tolerated.

Northumbria Police are looking into problems at the North East reserve team derby in Newcastle last night.

Officers said there was "disorder" during the 3-3 draw between the Newcastle United and Sunderland reserves.

Plastic hoarding signs for were damaged and thrown on to the pitch and also tossed around the stand.

Later, a glass door was smashed when a number of people attacked the Sports Direct store on Blackett Bridge in Newcastle city centre.

A force spokesman said members of staff were in the shop at the time and "were extremely distressed and concerned by this".

No one was injured.

Detective Chief Inspector Ian Bentham said: "These sorts of incidents will not be tolerated.

"We are determined to identify the people responsible for both incidents which have been widely reported and viewed in the media.

"If anyone recognises the people who have carried out these criminal acts they are asked to contact police in the strictest of confidence so we can take appropriate action."

Officers particularly want to talk the driver of a red car, believed to be Renault Megane, which was driving past the store when the disorder was ongoing.

The incident at the ground happened during a match played in front of a crowd of nearly 3,000 at the Tyneside club's home ground.

The referee halted play and the players took a drinks break as officials restored order, before play resumed.

The ground, formerly known as St James' Park, was officially renamed the Sports Direct Arena by Magpies owner Mike Ashley recently - a move which was not well received by some Magpies fans.

Footage of both incidents has been posted on the internet. The abusive chanting of the fans which can be heard in the clips appears to confirm their antagonism to Sports Direct.