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Last Updated: Friday, 22 April, 2005, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
Men jailed over football violence
Prenton Park
All the men received football banning orders
A gang of 32 football hooligans have been jailed for plotting violence at a football match between Tranmere Rovers and Wrexham in 2003.

Merseyside Police knew of the planned fighting before the game, after reading messages on websites used by football hooligans, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Judge Brian Lewis said it was a planned attempt to cause large scale violence.

The gang, most of whom lived on the Wirral, were sentenced to a total of thirty-one-and-a-half years in prison.

Wrexham...they're bringing 200 or more can't wait
Text message tracked by police

Officers from the Merseyside, North Wales and Cheshire forces acted before the match and managed to prevent serious disorder at the Prenton Park ground, the court heard.

But trouble did break out on a train after the match as the opposing Wrexham fans headed home. Violence also broke out in Chester city centre after the 27 September game.

Police said many of the men had planned to meet before the game at a local pub known as the Prince William near Green Lane.

Officers had tracked several text messages sent between the conspirators, including one that read: "Wrexham...they're bringing 200 or more can't wait."

'Criminal activities'

Judge Lewis said many others who were involved in the fighting had not been tracked down.

All the men were banned from attending football matches for six years.

"Tranmere Rovers has always enjoyed the highest respect and reputation not only in the local community but in the wider football world," he said.

"It has become a family club in the truest sense and you have besmirched that with your criminal activities.

'Organised violence'

"The courts must send out a message that organised violence of this nature will not be tolerated."

Four men described as key figures in the plot were David Sands, Paul Joynson, John Ryan, and Jason Montessori.

Sands, 30, of Holme Lane, Prenton, and Joynson, 23, of Prenton Road East, Tranmere were both jailed for two years.

Montessori, 33, of Polden Close, Ledsham was sentenced to 15 months and Ryan, 39, of Foxcovers Road, Bebington; was jailed for 12 months.

Another man, Stephen Roberts, was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years and banned from football matches for four years.




SEE ALSO:
Arrests over football clashes
04 Feb 04 |  Merseyside
Charges over football violence
05 Feb 04 |  Merseyside


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