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Fan avoids ban for throwing toilet roll
4:00pm Sunday 27th October 2013 in News
A SOUTHEND United fan who threw a toilet roll on to the pitch at Roots Hall has avoided being banned from football matches for a year.
Essex Police made an application to ban Ryan Carter from attending Southend United games at Roots Hall after the incident, which happened two weeks ago.
His solicitor described the application, for the “non-aggressive” incident, as being out of proportion.
Carter, who turned 18 this week, was in the crowd at Roots Hall during the Shrimpers’ game against Dagenham and Redbridge on October 8.
He was seen on CCTV throwing a roll of toilet paper on to the pitch, at a time when the ball was not near his section of the crowd.
The teenager, of Southchurch Road, Southend, pleaded guilty to throwing a missile on to the pitch, when he appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.
Simon Samuels, defending Carter, said the application to ban Carter was “out of proportion” to the crime.
He claimed that throwing a roll of toilet paper within the crowd was a common occurrence at Roots Hall and that Carter had been closer to the pitch than he realised when he threw it.
He said: “We can remember the bad old days of the Seventies with fights occurring inside and outside football grounds. The situation we’re dealing with is nothing to do with fighting whatsoever.
“It was just a group of young males who were overexcited and were not looking to cause trouble.
“There was no form of aggression shown during the period covered by the CCTV of the incident.”
Describing Carter as a big fan who would be unfairly punished by missing a year of games at the club. Mr Samuels added: “In life, while we may all moan and groan when we go to Roots Hall and find ourselves losing 5-2 to Dagenham, at the end of the day it’s an experience we don’t want to miss.”
Prosecutor Lesley Chipps said: “Police take a zero-tolerance approach to incidents like this.
“It may well be that people think throwing a toilet roll on to the playing area is not a big problem because is it soft...police ask for these banning orders because of the nature of what it could incite.”
Magistrate Martin Hampson gave Carter a conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £85 costs.
After the hearing, Southend football intelligence officer Det Con Andy Smith, said: “We’re naturally disappointed by this decision, as we try to ensure disorder at Roots Hall is not tolerated.”
He added that officers will continue to monitor football matches to ensure anyone disrupting them faces prosecution.
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