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Police hunt suspects after brawl at match
POLICE have released pictures of 14 men they want following violence at an Oxford United football match.
Operation Boot is a police investigation into disorder at the Oxford United v Bristol Rovers match on February 9, outside the Kassam Stadium in Grenoble Road.
The two main incidents shortly before the 3pm kick-off included violence against police officers outside the stadium, and a fight between Oxford and Bristol fans outside the Priory pub next to the stadium. No serious injuries were reported.
Investigating officers have already arrested 11 men in connection with the disorder, including two yesterday.
A 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old boy were arrested in early morning raids at two Abingdon homes. Two plain- clothed police officers handcuffed the pair and took them to St Aldate’s Police Station in an unmarked car.
Supt Christian Bunt, himself an Oxford United supporter, said such violence would not be tolerated.
He said: “We haven’t had disorder to this extent for a while but we are now focusing on a positive post-match investigation.
“I would rather not have to use so many of my resources to police and investigate or crack down on a football match but the reality is now that the disorder did happen it has to be thoroughly investigated.
“There are problems up and down the country but until recently there had been very few problems in Oxford.
“This disorder was caused by the small minority choosing to cause trouble. Oxford United is a family club and will continue to be so.
“I hope these arrests and this operation shows that we will not tolerate this type of behaviour and will be taking a proactive approach to deal with anyone who causes trouble at the games.”
Another man, 50, from Kidlington, handed himself in to police yesterday. He and the two Abingdon teenagers were bailed until April 30.
To date, one Bristol Rovers fan and 10 Oxford United fans have been bailed.
Bristol Rovers spokeswoman Kirsty Pugh said: “The club condemns any form of violence and we will assist the police with their inquiry in any way we can.”
An Oxford United spokesman declined to comment.
Priory pub landlord Tim Rackley said he was not aware of the fight.
Leading the investigation, Sgt Lewis Boyce, said: “We have made a lot of positive arrests and we are working to make sure the right people are dealt with through the courts.”