Fan ‘was forced to carry smoke bomb’ into Sunderland vs Aston Villa match

CAUGHT: Mohammed Absughe took a smoke bomb into the Sunderland v Aston Villa game on January 1.

CAUGHT: Mohammed Absughe took a smoke bomb into the Sunderland v Aston Villa game on January 1.

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A FOOTBALL fan who tried to take a smoke bomb into the Stadium of Light claimed other fans forced him to do it.

Mohammed Absughe was given the bomb by a group of men who had racially abused him in the past, Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard.

“The offence happened on January 1, this year, when Sunderland were playing Aston Villa,” said Lee Poppett, prosecuting.

“At about 2.45pm stewards outside a turnstile spotted Absughe talking to a group of men.

“One of them was seen to pass him a small tube, later likened to a packet of sweets.

“When he reached the turnstile, Absughe was asked if he was carrying anything.

“To be fair to him, he said he was.”

The court heard Absughe has no previous convictions, but he and his brother are known to West Midlands Police officers who travel to Aston Villa’s away games.

Absughe, 22, of Beilby Road, Birmingham, admitted being in possession of a firework while attempting to enter a designated sports ground.

Alison Gurden, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Absughe did feel intimidated by the other group. He did not set out that morning to take the smoke bomb into the ground.

“The article itself was a very small smoke bomb. It was not a flare, and does not get hot or produce a flame when set off.

“It is the type of thing used in paintballing.

“Mr Absughe is at university in Birmingham studying aviation management, which he hopes will lead to a job in the United States.”

The bench adjourned passing sentence for the preparation of social inquiry reports, and for further legal submissions about imposing a football ground banning order.

Bench chairman John Bolam told Absughe: “This could have had serious consequences had this device been set off.

“We have to consider the safety of the public.

“All sentencing options are open.”

Absughe was bailed to return to the court to be dealt with on February 3.