5:56pm Sunday 4th March 2012
TROUBLE at Swindon Town’s clash with bitter rivals Oxford led to police making 13 arrests.
Oxford fans were seen ripping out seat covers and hurling them towards a section containing Town supporters.
Riot police moved in to push back the crowd at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium and drew truncheons after the game.
Thames Valley Police said a coach carrying Town fans was damaged before the match, when a door was forced open just outside the Kassam Stadium, causing the driver to stop. Some Oxford supporters tried to reach the vehicle, resulting in the supporters on board causing damage to the bus and throwing debris from the vehicle.
Officers managed to restore order and prevent any further escalation.
During the game a small number of people threw chairs into areas containing rival fans and officers in protective clothing were required to support stewards as some people tried to breach the segregated areas, designed to keep opposing fans separated.
After the game, one of the buses carrying Swindon supporters from the stadium was stopped by police on the B480 at just after 2.30pm, due to damage being caused to the bus and debris being thrown out of the vehicle towards other road users, resulting in several arrests being made.
The fixture had been give a noon kick-off to try to avoid trouble and police drafted in mounted officers, dog units and deployed a helicopter ahead of the game, which Oxford won 2-0.
Chief Inspector Olly Wright, who led the policing operation, said: “As expected, the majority of people attending the match were law-abiding and genuine fans intent on upholding the true spirit of the occasion.
“Sadly, there were was a small minority who let themselves and their team down by engaging in violent or disruptive behaviour, resulting in 13 arrests.
“Our policing operation managed to prevent any disorder in the wider city despite the attempts made by this small minority who were clearly intent on causing trouble, and officers were successful in keeping rival troublemakers apart.
"All of the arrests were for criminal damage or public order offences and detectives are now carrying out a full inquiry into criminal incidents with the aim of bring those responsible to justice."
Sergeant Dave Stevenson, of Wiltshire Police, said there were no football-related arrests after the Town fans returned to Swindon.
When the League Two sides clashed at the County Ground in August there was low-level disorder in the town centre resulting in 12 arrests after the game.
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