NEWCASTLE and Sunderland fans have been issued with a stark warning ahead of this weekend's derby - misbehave and you will face the courts.

The Magpies are playing their arch-rivals at St James’ Park on Saturday, a fixture infamous for outbreaks of disorder.

Officers are being drafted in from across the region, along with specialists from other forces, to police the event.

Loading article content

Operations Commander Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said: “There will be sufficient staff through the force area to police both the derby and there will be a lot of interest in the pubs while the match is on.

“The message to fans is - ‘think about your actions’.

“People who got involved last year went to prison and anyone who does this year will be put before the courts.

“Some people think they can be anonymous, but that is not possible in today’s society. We will be able to identify everybody.”

The Northern Echo:

The Northern Echo:
Above: Last year's troubles in Newcastle city centre

The Northern Echo:
Newcastle fan Barry Rogerson, 45, is led away by police after punching a horse

Last year, the Tyne-Wear derby attracted headlines around the world when Newcastle fan Barry Rogerson punched a police horse during riot outside the ground.

The 45-year-old, from Bedlington, Northumberland, was jailed for 12 months in October at Newcastle Crown Court.

Of the 156 arrested following the Black Cats 3-0 victory over the Magpies last year, 57 said they had been to the match and 33 were season ticket holders.

Forty-five yobs involved in violence, which included throwing bottles at police, have since been jailed from between four months and 21 months.

Others, including youths and first time offenders, have been sentenced to community orders while all sentenced by the courts have also been given football banning orders of up to six years.

Earlier this week, groups representing supporters across the derby divide have issued a joint statement calling on fans to "lose the poison" which surrounds the game.

Ch Supt Neill said: “We want to welcome supporters from both teams and we hope they enjoy what is a great sporting event and a highlight in the footballing calendar for the region.

“The match is one which football supporters across the region look forward to and we're well aware the vast majority of supporters are there to support their team and soak up the derby day atmosphere.”

EIGHT men have been charged with affray following a fight the last time Newcastle played Sunderland Police were called to Westgate Road near to the O2 academy and the Star Pub, on Sunday, October 27, the same day as game at the Stadium of Light.

The incident happened in the road and caused a number of cars and pedestrians to stop.

Officers arrested nine men and eight have been charged with affray.

They are: Steven Office, 48, of Mead Walk, Walker, Newcastle; Michael Office, of 29, Warrenmor Lane, Leam Lane Estate, Gateshead; James Office, 26, of Orchard Grove, Brompton, Northallerton; Trevor Reid, 49, of James Street, Dipton, County Durham; Paul Munro, 31, of Hutton Street, Gosforth, Newcastle; David Carter, 28, of St Edmunds Terrace, Dipton; Colin Leightley, 24, of Finespark, Annfield Plain; and Jordan Carter, 21, of St Edmunds Terrace, Dipton.

They are all on bail and will all appear at Magistrates' courts in Newcastle and Gateshead on February 13 and February 21.

Bail conditions mean that the eight are not allowed to enter licensed premises in the city centre area of Newcastle.

A ninth man, a 30-year-old from Durham, remains on police bail.

SUNDERLAND fans are being encouraged use free official club coaches, which leave the Stadium of Light for Newcastle at 10.30am and will also return there after the match.

There will be two Metros travelling direct from Sunderland station to Central Station in Newcastle. They will leave at 10.43am and 10.55am.

There will also be one direct Northern Rail service, leaving Sunderland station for Newcastle Central Station at 11.19am and arriving in Newcastle at 11.39am.

For the return journey, there are two Metros running direct from Central Station to Sunderland at 3.45pm and 3.57pm.

There will also be one direct Northern Rail service leaving Newcastle at 3.38pm, passing through Heworth at 3.46pm and arriving in Sunderland at 4.01pm.

Roads temporarily closed on derby day between 1.30pm and 5pm will be: Barrack Road in both direction between its junctions with Gallowgate and New Mills; Strawberry Place between its junction with Barrack Road and St James Street; Pitt Street between its junctions with Barrack Road and Wellington Street and Barrack Road, south/eastbound between its junction with Holland Drive and New Mills.