Sunderland men among seven arrests ahead of derby game

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SEVEN people have been arrested in early morning raids ahead of today’s Wear-Tyne derby match at the Stadium of Light.

Police swooped on homes in Sunderland, County Durham, Gateshead and Newcastle at 5am this morning.

The men were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to commit violent disorder and breaching football banning order conditions.

The seven – aged 18, 19, 20, 26, 51, and two aged 57 – are in custody and enquiries are ongoing.

During the searches officers also seized a number of smoke canisters.

Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said: “As part of the planning for today’s derby game we executed a number of warrants based on intelligence that we had received. Seven people have been arrested and are currently in custody.

“We want today’s match to be as safe and enjoyable for supporters as possible and we will continue to take action when and where appropriate to ensure that this is the case.”