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Saturday, May 22, 1999 Published at 22:28 GMT 23:28 UK


Newcastle arrests follow FA Cup match

Police were set upon in Newcastle city centre after the match finished

Police in Newcastle say there have been more than 50 arrests in the city centre after violence followed the cup final at Wembley.

The BBC's John Thorne: "The police reacted quickly and made many arrests with batons drawn"
The disturbances began shortly after Newcastle's 2-0 defeat by Manchester United.

Police used batons, horses and dog teams to disperse a crowd of about 500 people that gathered in the Bigg Market in Newcastle city centre. Some of the crowd vandalised telephone boxes, while others uprooted trees.

A number of officers were deployed around the city centre until the early hours of the morning.

Most of the arrests were for alleged disorder, drunkenness and minor criminal damage.

[ image: Police decided to intervene when some of the crowd became unruly]
Police decided to intervene when some of the crowd became unruly
Northumbria police say "planning for the worst" enabled them to control the violence.

Inspector Jerry Barker said: "There have been more arrests than there normally would be on a Saturday night in the city, and it's primarily related to the after-match reaction.

"In these situations you have to plan for the worst and we rather anticipated there would be some reaction like this if Newcastle lost."

The Inspector said the situation had been contained more quickly than the trouble last year - again after Newcastle was defeated in the final.

Telephone boxes smashed

There were some injuries, but none was believed to be serious.

Initially, about 500 fans chanted and danced in the city centre.

But within 15 minutes of final whistle, some drunken elements started smashing telephone boxes and pulling up sapling trees.

Police moved in with dogs and batons and made some arrests. Within about half an hour the crowd had been contained and cordoned off.

The violence later subsided into a drunken, noisy stand-off.

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