Police have issued an apology after football fans were pepper-sprayed by officers during Saturday’s clash with Stoke and Preston North End.
Visiting supporters, including children, were sprayed by police during the half-time interval on the away concourse at Deepdale, reports the Stoke Sentinel.
It has been suggested that some fans had been trying to leave the stadium to have a cigarette.
Lancashire Police are to launch an investigation into the incident and Football Supporters Federation case worker Amanda Jacks will attend a de-brief on Tuesday.
PC Paul Elliott, who interacts with away fans as PNEPolice on Twitter , said: “Firstly let me say I’m the football officer for Preston North End. I’m a PC and have been working in football operations for 12 years, every game home and away.
“I take everything that happens at Preston North End games personally and I can assure all Stoke City fans that the incident that occurred at half-time will be fully investigated.
“There will be a full post-match debrief on Tuesday and all the commanders involved in today’s operation will attend.”
He added: “I will personally inform Stoke City fans and fans groups of the outcome and will invite a representative from the Football Supporters Federation to attend for total transparency.
“I sincerely apologise to any innocent Stoke City fans caught up in this incident.”
One supporter wrote on Twitter: "Stoke supporters pepper sprayed at Preston at half-time, little children crying, diabolical behaviour."
When fellow fans asked what had sparked the incident, Chris Rossi wrote: "Stoke fans tried get out for a smoke. Honestly."
Richard Skelton had taken his fiancee’s 10-year-old son to his first ever Stoke away game.
He said: "I have never seen conduct like it. Stoke fans just wanted a cigarette so were standing by the doors waiting to go outside. When you have to literally drag your lad out of the concourse… this could have ended in crowd violence."
Source: Read Full Article