Fan fined after pitch invasion

Bloomfield Road
Bloomfield Road
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A Blackpool football fan was arrested after invading the pitch at Bloomfield Road to protest about how the club was being run.

Lee Biggs, 37, ran from the South Stand towards the centre circle during Blackpool’s game against Burnley, before being caught by the chief steward and handed over to police.

A court was told how there were several invasions of the pitch during the televised game, in protest about the management of the club.

Biggs, a Blackpool fan for 25 years, of Harcourt Road in South Shore, pleaded guilty to going onto to the playing area during a match.

The father-of-two was fined £215 with £85 costs plus £21 victims’ surcharge but Blackpool magistrates decided not to make him the subject of a Football Banning Order, which would have prohibited him from going to football matches.

Presiding magistrate, Philip Clayton, told Biggs: “One of the problems of going onto the pitch is that it encourages others to do so. This can cause all sorts of trouble and there is the potential of losing control of possibly thousands of people.”

Magistrates said they were not imposing a Football Banning Order on Biggs as he had no record of causing football related problems and they accepted he had acted impetuously.

Prosecutor, Martine Connah, said on Good Friday during Blackpool’s home game with Burnley Biggs ran onto the pitch. He was caught by the chief steward and handed over to police in the players tunnel. Biggs told officers: “I was only protesting.”

The prosecutor added that there were several invasions of the pitch during the game and at one point, after the referee conferred with the ground’s safety officer, the game was temporarily halted.

John Gallagher, defending, said Biggs was a long-term Blackpool fan, who had been attending the club’s games for 25 years, had had a season ticket for five years and often took his daughter to matches.

Mr Gallagher added: “He behaved in an impetuous manner. He had no idea how serious it was. There is no suggestion from police intelligence he had ever caused a problem at a football match before.”

The defence opposed a Football Banning Order being place on his client, but said Biggs could find himself banned from matches by the club anyway.