Manchester City fan in court after playing practical joke on police after victory against Sunderland

The Stadium of Light.
The Stadium of Light.

A Manchester City fan got himself into bother when he tried to play a practical joke on a police officer after his team’s latest victory against Sunderland AFC.

Martyn Blair, who had never been in trouble with the law before, had just watched the away side beat the Black Cats two-nil at the Stadium of Light on March 5, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Perhaps for a laugh, he raises his hand and flicks the top of his fingers in the officer’s face

Jason Smith, defending

The 29-year-old was “euphoric” when left the ground after the game, the court was told.

However, his elation got him into trouble, when a practical joke he played on a police officer backfired, and he found himself arrested for assaulting him.

Prosecutor Sarah Traynor said a police officer on duty came across Blair walking near the former Vaux Brewery site after the game had finished.

She said: “He extended his right arm towards the officer’s chest as if he was pointing at something.

“When the officer looked down he then moved it upwards and it connected with his mouth and nose.”

The court heard Blair then told the officer: “I thought you would find it funny.”

Ms Traynor said: “He was taken to the Stadium of Light custody suite.”

In interview he told police: “I thought it would be a laugh, just playful.

“I can’t remember if I touched him – I’d had about five pints. I don’t think I was drunk.

“I was just having a bit of banter with the officer.”

Blair, of Brantwood Avenue, Carlisle, pleaded guilty to assaulting a police officer.

The court heard he has no previous convictions or warnings.

Brian Chapman, defending, said: “The law is a very serious matter and sometimes a trivial matter can be brought to court.

“In this case he is walking away from the Man City game, his team has won.

“Perhaps for a laugh, he raises his hand and flicks the top of his fingers in the officer’s face.

“It was a stupid practical joke that has gone wrong.

“This is a man of previous good character, who’s had to go across the country to come here today.

“He accepts he’s done wrong, in hindsight, in the euphoria of winning the match.”

Mr Chapman said he opposed the crown’s application to make a football banning order in respect of Blair, who works for a window manufacturer.

“I don’t think any organisation would consider a football banning order for a practical joke.

“I believe Franco’s Spain would have done, but not this court.”

Blair was fined £75 with a £30 surcharge to fund victim services.

Bench chairman John Lee said: “When there are 40-odd thousand people around the police have a great deal of tension to deal with.

“It is not a good idea to go around playing tricks on them. Don’t do it to a police officer outside a football match.”

Magistrates decided not to make a football banning order, after Blair had been subject to bail conditions, prohibiting him from going within a one-mile radius of Etihad Stadium in Manchester, during matches.