Any Sunderland or Newcastle United fans intent on causing trouble at this weekend’s Wear-Tyne derby will be caught and prosecuted thanks to hi-tech cameras, police and safety chiefs today warned.
The rivals are set to battle it out at the Stadium of Light tomorrow in a noon kick-off, with more than 45,000 supporters expected to attend the passionate fixture.
And today those running the police and stadium operations for the hotly-anticipated encounter said that any supporters who engage in disorder will be charged and prosecuted. The warning comes just days after four Magpie fans admitted their parts in damaging seats or throwing coins while at last season’s game on Wearside.
Three have been slapped with three-year football banning orders, with another awaiting sentence.
A high-resolution Panomera CCTV camera helped to catch those responsible and it will be in action on Sunday.
“The likelihood is that if you engage in this activity, you will be captured on camera and the message from the courts is that you will get a three-year football banning order,” said SAFC’s safety and security manager Paul Weir.
“Until recently, we had the same security equipment at the Stadium of Light as when it opened in 1997 and although it was state-of-the-art then, it isn’t now.
“This system is capable of providing evidence which can be used in court.
“Longer term, this is designed to make sure that supporters are kept safe.”
Match commander for Sunday’s match Northumbria Police’s chief superintendent Steve Neill added that he hopes the good behaviour of fans in recent meetings between the teams continues.
“We have lost the poison and I hope that’s a thing that’s consigned to the past,” said chf supt Neill.
“There’s been a significant change over the last few years in the concept of policing football and we work much more closely with fan groups and our partner agencies.
“We’ve gone from hundreds of arrests following some derby games to just above 20 for the last game in April.
“It’s going to be a busy day so my advice is to plan your journey to the game, leave earlier than you usually do and get to your seat early.”
Newcastle United fans are being encouraged to make their way to the ground by Metro train or on official coaches.
Roadworks on the A1231 Wessington Way are expected to cause delays to those home fans travelling by car.