Sunderland fan cleared after arrest for chanting on 3-0 Newcastle derby day victory

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A SUNDERLAND fan accused of hurling foul-mouth abuse at police on derby day has been cleared

Anthony Holyoak was arrested after jumping up and down near a police van, as he celebrated his team’s 3-0 victory at St James’s Park on April 14.

Police claimed he hurled abuse at officers and resisted arrest, during a confrontation in Holmeside, prosecutor Michael Rose told Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

But the case against the 21-year-old for being drunk and disorderly was dismissed.

Chief Inspector George Maratty, who was in charge of 200 officers on the day, said by 2pm Sunderland was as busy as it would be on New Year’s Eve.

Police were in a marked vehicle parked near the Point nightclub when they spotted Mr Holyoak, from Roker in Sunderland, “in high spirits.”

He said: “I was concerned at this point, with what had gone on in Sunderland and what I had seen go on in Newcastle, that this gentleman’s actions could inflame a tense atmosphere in Sunderland city centre.

“My aspiration was for this gentleman to leave.”

Mr Holyoak told the court he watched the game in Sinatras bar with his girlfriend and her mother and had drunk just a pint and a half of lager.

He said: “We came out of the pub chanting, full of high spirits and walked past a police van. We were chanting swear words and the police obviously thought they were directed at them.

“I was asked to walk away, I walked away and was grabbed from behind and told I was under arrest, so I lay on the floor.”

He added: “The whole city centre was chanting because they were excited, because of the win.”

Chairman of the bench, John Scott, said Mr Holyoak was a “credible” witness and there were “inconsistencies” in the police officers’ evidence.