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Police warning ahead of Ballymena and Coleraine Boxing Day clash

Police have issued a warning to football fans ahead of Ballymena United and Coleraine's Boxing Day clash.

Officers urged those planning on going to the match for any reason other than being a genuine fan to stay away.

Police said the most recent match between the two teams at Ballymena Showgrounds resulted in a firework being let off in the away stand and damage caused to seats and toilets.

"Whilst we appreciate the added interest that local rivalries bring to Boxing Day football, we are also aware that there have been previously been incidents of disorder associated with the rivalry", officers said in a Facebook post.

They added: "The persons causing the damage hurt their own club as the bill is sent to the team whose supporters caused the damage.

"Due to the risk of persons getting hurt, police will be taking a zero tolerance approach, and anyone caught involved in disorder risks prosecution, ASBO's or Football Banning Orders. These can have serious consequences on future prospects.

"We would like to remind supporters that they have a responsibility to ensure their own behaviour is of the highest standard.

"They have a responsibility to ensure they do not negatively impact on the residents and businesses near the stadium.

"They are also reminded that one of the conditions of entry to the ground is the acceptance that they may be searched.

"Supporters also have a right and a responsibility to support their team and enjoy the match."

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