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Pool warning as three held in flare probe

An incendiary is let off in the Darwen End at Ewood Park in Blackburn on Saturday. Below: Karl Oyston.

An incendiary is let off in the Darwen End at Ewood Park in Blackburn on Saturday. Below: Karl Oyston.

Blackpool Football Club today re-issued a threat to ban supporters armed with fireworks during matches after a flare was a let-off among fans during Saturday’s Lancashire derby at Blackburn Rovers.

Stewards at Ewood Park were forced to move into the Darwen End, which housed the 1,500 Seasiders supporters, during the second half of Pool’s 2-0 defeat when a flare was lit and smoke bombs were let off.

Police later held back a section of the away fans after the full-time whistle following the incident.

Three teenagers, aged 15, 16 and 17, were arrested on suspicion of letting off smoke bombs in the ground.

They have been bailed to February 21. Under the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc) Act 1985, it is an offence to attempt to enter a football ground in possession of a flare, smoke bomb or firework. Blackpool previously warned fans in October after Wigan fans were found with fireworks by stewards prior to the Championshoip clash at Bloomfield Road.

Pool chairman Karl Oyston said: “Generally the ground safety is left in the hands of the ground safety officer.

“If he comes to me and informs me of fans who have been arrested, charged or have behaved unacceptably they will be banned.

“I always support what the ground safety officer asks me to do, I have never not signed a letter. We want a stadium which has a nice family atmosphere and safe for all those attending, that’s what we want to provide.

“People need to know where to draw the line.”

A Lancashire Police spokesman said: “Three youths have been arrested, aged 15, 16 and 17, on suspicion of letting off a firework/flare at a sporting event, namely during the Blackburn Rovers v Blackpool match on Saturday.

“Officers are continuing to look at footage regarding the letting off of a flare in the Darwen End which housed the Blackpool supporters.”

Flare furore after fans and officials left injured

At the start of the season in August Policing Minister Damian Green warned football fans that those who were smuggling flares into matches were putting other supporters’ lives at risk.

In May, a 15-year-old boy suffered lung damage from a smoke bomb thrown during Villa’s 2-2 draw at Wigan Athletic, while two women aged 22 and 24 also required medical attention.

Assistant referee David Bryan was also hit in the back of the neck during Aston Villa’s match against Tottenham in October.

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