Fans given flare warning

IPSWICH: Police today issued a warning to Town fans following a growing trend in the number flares and gas canisters being set off at games.

Although supporters of different clubs are involved, last Saturday’s game at Crystal Palace saw two smoke canisters set off in the stand where Ipswich fans were.

One went off when the game kicked-off. Although it was carried out by a steward, police have said it did cause breathing difficulties for some fans.

The second canister was ignited at the rear of the Park Road stand when Carlos Edwards scored Town’s second goal in the 2-1 win at Selhurst Park.

The incidents came less than a month after a Blues’ supporter received a three-year football banning order after a flare was set alight during Ipswich’s 3-1 defeat at Peterborough in February.

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Pc Marc Norman, Suffolk Constabulary’s football intelligence officer, said: “These items are not permitted inside football stadiums for very good reasons.

“They pose a serious threat to public safety and I urge anyone thinking of taking such an item into a stadium, particularly Portman Road, to think twice.

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“We will identify you and seek the support of the judicial system in applying for a minimum three-year football banning order.

“We wish for all fans to be able to view football within a safe environment and without the fear, panic, and danger that these articles can present.

“If people wish to view live, what could be a promising season for Ipswich, then think carefully as a ban could also mean missing Premier League football.”

The trend seemed to begin last October when Barrow supporters set off blue smoke bombs at Chester.

In February a flare went off at the Leicester v Blackpool game.

A month later one man sustained burns as a marine distress-style flare was passed around Leicester supporters when they visited Crystal Palace.

When Colchester played at Exeter in April, the U’s supporters lit a smoke grenade under a large flag before kick-off.

Four days later a flare was set off at the Scunthorpe v Blackpool game.

Ipswich fan Mark Codling, 35, of Selkirk Road, Ipswich, was given a three-year football banning order last month after being charged with possession of a flare during Town’s game at Peterborough on February 16.

n Were you affected by the smoke canisters at Crystal Palace? Write to Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN.

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