Jailed Pool fan could be freed ‘within weeks’

Mark Rushtons supporters outside Preston Crown Court

Mark Rushtons supporters outside Preston Crown Court

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The family of a jailed Blackpool FC fan has thanked his fellow Seasiders fans after his sentence was more than halved.

Roofer Mark Rushton was sent to prison for 26 weeks and made the subject of a six-year football banning order in January for his part in storming the directors’ box at Bloomfield Road.

Mark was so pleased to see so many people at the court

Rushton, 24, was found guilty of threatening behaviour after the incident at the end of last season.

But following an appeal at Preston Crown Court on Friday, attended by scores of supporters, Rushton’s sentence was slashed to 12 weeks.

And that means he will be released from prison within the next couple of weeks.

Yesterday his supporters were celebrating the prospect of him returning home.

His mother Sue said: “Would just like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated and supported Mark through out his trial and appeal.

“Mark was so pleased to see so many people at the court.”

Only 16 of Rushton’s supporters were allowed into the court while others waited outside.

One supporter said: “It was a shame we couldn’t have all left together and took Mark for a beer, but he’ll soon be out now.”

Another added: “He just needs to stay strong for the short remainder of his time and then he’ll be free.”

Rushton, of Riversway, Marton, had been found guilty of threatening behaviour which put people in fear of their safety during a protest at Bloomfield Road at the end of last season.

He was among a group of fans who stormed the directors’ box on May 2 last year as Blackpool played Huddersfield.

The match was eventually called off after a pitch invasion by hundreds of fans.

Rushton also admitted damaging a security camera at Accrington Stanley FC during a Blackpool pre-season friendly and letting off smoke bombs on a railway platform after Blackpool’s friendly with Lancaster City.

Jailing him District Judge Jeff Brailsford, sitting at Blackpool Magistrates Court, said: “Football does not need your behaviour.

“What you did on the day – you stormed the directors box at Bloomfield Road – does you no credit and football no credit.

“You wore a mask – a frightening mask – and it did frighten innocent and elderly people and children. It intimidated them and then you turned to the crowds and glorified in what you had done.

“I find no mitigating factors in your behaviour whatsoever.”

During the original trial, Rushton had broken an order banning him from contacting the Oyston family, when he sent a text message to Karl Oyston.