Benfleet & Colchester: Teenager fined for abusive behaviour at football match
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A Benfleet teenager has been fined £400 after he ran onto the pitch and made a rude gesture to a steward at Colchester United’s ground.
Joseph Coppen, 19, of High Road, ran on to the pitch at the JobServe Community Stadium during the England v Germany Under-20s match on Tuesday 29 March.
At Colchester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 25 August, he admitted displaying writing, a sign or other visible representation which was threatening or abusive within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress and also with entering the playing area of a designated football match without lawful authority or excuse.
Coppen was fined £200 for each offence and also ordered to pay £105 costs and a £40 victim surcharge, meaning he will have to pay a total of £545.
“I hope this sends out a clear message to people who attend football matches for the wrong reasons. The vast majority of people attend to support their team in a well-behaved manner. “Unfortunately, there is a small minority whose actions spoil the occasion and may put the safety of others at risk. The safety of supporters remains our priority and we will continue to take robust action against violent and abusive supporters.” PC Steve Mugridge
Dedicated football officer PC Niki Howard says that since the return of football supporters to grounds post-COVID Regulations, there has been a sharp rise in the number of offences being committed across the country at football matches.
“Such behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. We are working closely with our football clubs to ensure that any incidents are reported to us so we can investigate them thoroughly.” PC Niki Howard
“We thank Essex Police for their support in this matter and we hope that the financial penalty that was handed out in court will be a deterrent to Mr Coppen and anyone else who may think that it’s ok to enter the pitch illegally and abuse others at matches. “Mr Coppen was, in our opinion, extremely fortunate not to have been issued with a Football Banning Order by the courts. Had this incident occurred this season, he would have been issued with an automatic club ban. “We will continue to work with the EFL in making the JobServe Community Stadium a safe environment for all Colchester United supporters and those of our visiting clubs, and we will also continue to work closely with Essex Police to bring to justice any persons contravening the laws surrounding football stadia attendance.” Colchester United spokesperson
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