Sunday Life

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Jamie Bryson says officers 'appeared confused' as police called to Donaghadee clubhouse after reports of Covid rules 'breach' for Celtic v Rangers game


Donahadee FC manager Jamie Bryson

Donahadee FC manager Jamie Bryson

Donahadee FC manager Jamie Bryson

Police visited an amateur league football clubhouse on Saturday after reports 30 people had gathered to watch the Old Firm game.

Officers called to the premises of Donaghadee FC, managed by Jamie Bryson, on the Parade in the north Down town following allegations that coronavirus regulations had been breached.

Although no penalty notices were issued a number of individuals were spoken to about matter.

A source in the town told Sunday Life that an unknown person had tipped off the cops that a crowd had gathered to watch Rangers’s 2-0 victory over Celtic.

When they arrived police spoke with Mr Bryson and they did not enter the premises but it’s understood that around 30 were seen leaving one-by-one after the visit.

In a statement posted by the club on Facebook on Saturday afternoon, a spokesperson denied the premises had been raided.

“This is entirely untrue. The PSNI did not set foot in our premises, did not issue any person with any fixed penalty notice and any assertions to the contrary is utter nonsense and factually incorrect,” they said.

“The PSNI, on the street outside of our clubhouse, had a discussion with an individual who kindly outlined for them (due to their apparent confusion) which powers they have, and which powers they do not have.

“They left the street thereafter and we reiterate at no stage did they enter our premises nor issue any fixed penalty notices to any person.”

Mr Bryson told Sunday Life: “I became aware of a small PSNI presence in the vicinity of the local clubhouse.

“I walked the short distance from my own location to the clubhouse and engaged with the PSNI on the street in an effort to explore their reason for loitering in the street.

“The officers appeared confused about their powers under the Covid-19 regulations.

“The PSNI informed me they had received a report alleging a Covid breach in the clubhouse. I was surprised by this.

“However, I outlined that their powers under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act in this instance didn’t extend to forced entry to the premises.

“Accordingly the PSNI had to accept they could not enter the premises. They remained on the street for a couple minutes and then left.”

Mr Bryson added: “There was not one single person arrested, placed under caution or issued with a Covid notice nor did the police at any time set a single foot over the door of the club premises.”

As of 6pm on Friday all hospitality venues in Northern Ireland had to close except for takeaway or delivery service.

Belfast Telegraph