FOURTEEN city football hooligans have been jailed after a mass brawl between fans of Peterborough United and Nottingham Forest.
FOURTEEN city football hooligans have been jailed after a mass brawl between fans of Peterborough United and Nottingham Forest.FOURTEEN city football hooligans have been jailed after a mass brawl between fans of Peterborough United and Nottingham Forest.
The yobs were today starting prison sentences of between three and 30 months after going on the rampage in the city centre in August 2001.
Four more thugs have been ordered to serve community punishment orders for their part in the fighting, which brought mayhem to Peterborough's streets before what was supposed to be a pre-season friendly match.
They have all been banned from attending football matches for up to 10 years for what Judge Nicholas Coleman described as "tribal warfare".
Sentencing them at Peterborough Crown Court yesterday, the judge said: "It has been suggested that this was not a serious disorder and no bystanders were injured, but people have the right to go into the city centre without becoming involved in tribal warfare.
"It occurred in the city centre on a warm, summer's day, when families were going about their daily business.
"There is evidence of mob violence, ranging across Broadway. Items were picked up and thrown, and physical violence was rampant. To suggest it was not serious is completely wrong."
The city centre was bustling with shoppers when fighting broke out in the streets, prior to the match on August 4.
The court heard supporters of both clubs had been drinking and singing in the College Arms pub, in Broadway, before the shocking scenes.
But trouble erupted when a group of Forest fans left the pub at about 2.45pm - 15 minutes before kick-off - and were followed by a group of Posh supporters.
Bottles were thrown, and within seconds a mass brawl had begun. The fighting continued in the streets as the thugs moved towards Yates wine bar.
Shoppers, including women, children and pensioners, ran for cover and cars came to a halt as the thugs fought running battles using metal road signs as weapons.
Among the thugs who were jailed was Adam Bevilacqua (21), of Stuart Close, Stanground, who was described as a "ringleader" by the judge.
The court was told he may have started the violence by throwing a bottle at rival fans outside the College Arms pub. He also grabbed a terrified man - who was completely unconnected with the incident - and marched him down Broadway, haranguing him.
After pleading guilty to violent disorder, he was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment and given a 10-year football banning order.
Another thug, Adamo Galietti (21), of St Peter's Walk, Yaxley, near Peterborough, was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment and given a 10-year football banning order after pleading guilty to violent disorder. He was seen on CCTV throwing a metal sign towards rival fans.
Judge Coleman added that the men had used football as an excuse for their violence.
He said: "It was said in Mr Galietti's pre-sentence report that he belonged to a group of supporters who use football as a cover for their anti-social behaviour. In my opinion that statement can be applied to them all."
Only one of the men convicted yesterday was not a Posh fan.
Top cop praises judge for tough line
A SENIOR city police officer today said he was pleased about the tough stance the court had taken with the 18 football thugs.
Detective Superintendent David Hankins said the sentences given to the group sent out a very clear message to "mindless" football hooligans that trouble would not be tolerated.
The thugs were trapped after being filmed fighting in Broadway, outside the College Arms and many were tracked as they made their way away from the scene.
CCTV operators were then able to direct police officers to them and a number were arrested near the Old Monk pub in Cowgate, Peterborough.
Officers then trawled through footage of the brawl to identify the rest of the thugs caught up in the trouble in Broadway on Saturday, August 4, last year.
Some of those involved were arrested days afterwards as police raided addresses across the city.
DS Hankins said: "These supporters went to cause mayhem, which is totally unacceptable. The sentences reflect the gravity of their behaviour, and I hope it serves as a reminder to anyone else who is considering acting in a similar way."