Suspected hooligans arrested ahead of World Cup qualifier

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The Independent Online

Police arrested 11 suspected football hooligans on Thursday as they prepared to leave Britain for Saturday's Germany versus England World Cup qualifying game in Munich.

Police arrested 11 suspected football hooligans on Thursday as they prepared to leave Britain for Saturday's Germany versus England World Cup qualifying game in Munich.

Officers in Essex were out in force at Stansted Airport checking fans flying to Munich and nearby airports. Undercover officers were also believed to be on duty at Dover.

A police spokeswoman said eight people had been detained at Stansted and three at the port of Harwich, in Essex. She said officers were using powers given to them by the Football (Disorder) Act.

Senior officers said it was part of a nationwide operation to prevent hooligans from getting to the game and that police would ask magistrates to impose banning orders on suspected hooligans where they felt it was appropriate.

The National Criminal Intelligence Service has drawn up a list of 514 known hooligans whom it is seeking to ban from attending the game. This includes 84 people who must report to a police station on the day of the game and sign a register.

Joe Edwards, Assistant Chief Constable of Essex, said officers were detaining suspects on the basis of previous convictions or other intelligence. He said: "We are detaining people who are already the subject of banning orders or people we believe should be the subject of banning orders.

"What we are doing is part of a nationwide operation aimed at preventing troublemakers from travelling. I think what the UK is being asked to do is to take reasonable steps to make sure it does not export trouble."

Most fans arriving at Stansted gave the police action their backing and said they welcomed anything designed to limit trouble at the game.

More than 100 plain-clothes police "spotters" will mingle with England supporters in Germany in an effort to prevent a repeat of the violence that took place in Charleroi in Belgium where the two nations met in the Euro 2000 football championships.

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