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Friday, 8 December, 2000, 21:59 GMT
Hooligans jailed after TV exposure
Donal MacIntyre
Donal MacIntyre went undercover to expose the thugs
Two men exposed as hooligans on a BBC documentary have been jailed for planning football violence.

Jason Marriner, 33, from Feltham, Middlesex, and Andrew Frain, 36, from Reading, were filmed organising fights by the undercover journalist Donal MacIntyre.

Frain was sentenced to seven years in prison, and Marriner was jailed for six years, after being found guilty at Blackfriars Crown Court on Friday.

It's very good for football and it makes Saturdays a lot safer

Donal MacIntyre
Passing sentence, Judge Charles Byers said both were "dangerous men" who "relish violence".

The pair were also banned from attending football matches for the next 20 years.

Millions of viewers watched as MacIntyre infiltrated the notorious Chelsea Headhunters hooligan group by posing as a drug dealer and even having a Chelsea tattoo.

He filmed the men, using hidden cameras, planning a fight against rival fans while travelling in the back of a car to a football match at Leicester.

The programme also showed how the two men planned to sabotage a Bloody Sunday commemorative march in London, exposing their links with extreme right wing groups.

Donal MacIntyre prepares for undercover work
MacIntyre: The undercover work was "traumatic and very scary"
The men were portrayed as regarding such violence as "fun" and the best way to get their "kicks".

At one point Frain was heard referring to his nickname - Nightmare - and relishing the fear opponents would feel when they learnt he "was on the loose in Leicester".

At another point in the footage Marriner was heard boasting: "We have got about three coaches going and a minibus. It's sorted. It's naughty. Leicester will be naughty."

After the case, MacIntyre told BBC News 24: "We are delighted, of course, that the jury has returned guilty verdicts, we think it's very good for football and it makes Saturdays a lot safer."

He said the "very difficult" 18-month investigation was "traumatic and very scary".

MacIntyre spoke of being in fear for his life when they filmed in the car travelling to Leicester.

"The BBC is proud of its record and will always remain committed to investigative journalism

Mark Thompson, director of television
He praised his production team's courage and support and said police involved in the case had "distinguished themselves".

BBC director of television Mark Thompson said: "This outcome is a testament to the validity and integrity of the MacIntyre Undercover programme on hooliganism.

"The BBC is proud of its record and will always remain committed to investigative journalism."

Throughout the trial the defence had tried to discredit the methods used by MacIntyre and his producer Paul Atkinson.

It claimed the programme was "a dirty little lie".

Marriner claimed he was only acting up in front of the two journalists.

But MacIntyre insisted the BBC had not been on trial and, he added, the case was a vindication of their work and showed there was still a role for investigative journalism.

Majority verdicts

The jury of nine women and three men found the two men guilty by majority verdicts.

Judge Byers told them: "I am firmly of the view that you two are dangerous men.

"You confined yourselves not to just football matches, but you threatened lawful demonstrations and you threatened public order.

"It is clear to me also that you relish violence and you will stop at nothing and will go anywhere in pursuit of it, showing little if any regard for other people or for the law."

No remorse

Passing sentence, he noted neither man had shown any remorse and said it was his duty to reflect society's "distaste" for their actions.

Frain was sentenced to five years for conspiracy to commit violent disorder and two years for affray, the terms to run consecutively.

Marriner received a four year term for conspiracy and two years for affray, also to run consecutively.

The pair showed no emotion but as they were led away their supporters in the public gallery called out "disgraceful" and one slow hand clapped the judge.

A specially updated MacIntyre Undercover programme is being screened on BBC One on Monday 11 December, at 2035GMT.

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