BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC NEWS
 You are in:  UK: England
Front Page 
World 
UK 
England 
Northern Ireland 
Scotland 
Wales 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 


Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

SERVICES 
Friday, 3 May, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Injured officer describes 'battlefield'
Deputy Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair shows an officer's damaged helmet
Lumps of concrete were thrown at police officers
A police veteran of May Day and Poll Tax riots said the rampage by hooligans outside Millwall Football Club was the worst violence he had ever experienced.

Sergeant Russell Lamb was one of 47 officers hurt in clashes after the London club's defeat on Thursday in a Division One play-off against Birmingham City.

The 35-year-old said the situation was "like a battlefield" with fellow officers "dropping like nine pins".


It was just the ferocity of the assault and the level and amount of ammunition they were using

Sgt Russell Lamb

He described how he and colleagues endured two hours of "ridiculous, mindless violence" at the hands of hundreds of supporters.

"It was one of the most frightening situations I have ever been in," said Sgt Lamb, who has served 15 years with the Met police.

"I have done the poll tax and May Day riots and Wapping in the 1980s and I am in no doubt that it was one of the most unbelievable and violent situations I have been in.

Intent on trouble

"It was just the ferocity of the assault and the level and amount of ammunition they were using," he said.

He said it had been difficult to tell officers to "stand their ground while these mindless trouble-makers were throwing lumps of concrete at them".

Police said around 900 Millwall fans left the ground intent on trouble after the game.

They grouped outside the New Den, the club's home stadium in Bermondsey, east London.

Police try to contain violence
The level of violence shocked police

Mr Lamb said: "Officers were falling over in pain.

"The crowd were laughing at the officers. They were laughing in their faces and taunting them."

Sgt Lamb needed seven stitches in his chin after being hit in the face by a lump of concrete the size of a cricket ball. He also suffered a knee and foot injury in the attacks.

"One of my colleague's visors was split in two when a brick hit it," Sgt Lamb added.

"You could not believe the amount of debris.

"Every single car had a brick on the back seat, concrete had been thrown through wind screens and sun roofs."

'Mindless idiots'

Like his fellow officers, Sgt Lamb said he was "shocked, stunned and upset" that such violence could be spawned by a football match.

He felt sadness for local people who woke up to debris in their streets on Friday morning.


Every single car had a brick on the back seat, concrete had been thrown through wind screens and sun roof

Sgt Russell Lamb

"The people who live in this area go to work to pay for their possessions," he said.

"They do not work so that these mindless idiots can ruin their lives because their team could not score a goal."

And he said the hooligans could not class themselves as football fans.

"They just wanted to prove that they were tougher than other people," he added.

See also:

02 May 02 | Eng Div 1
Birmingham snatch dramatic win
03 May 02 | Millwall
Millwall's hooligan ban threat
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more England stories