A SOCCER hooligan has been banned from all football grounds, and had restrictions placed on travelling on the rail network.

In what is being heralded as a landmark case, Kenneth Adrian Kipling will not be allowed to travel on the railways when Darlington are playing an away match.

The 29-year-old, from Darlington, was arrested at the town's railway station on March 10 after becoming involved in violence following Darlington's home derby with Hartlepool United.

He was charged with disorderly conduct and fined £100, with £50 costs, when he appeared before the town's magistrates court this week.

The magistrates also imposed a three-year football banning order, with the added condition not to use the railways when Darlington are away.

Last night, a spokesman for the British Transport Police, which brought the prosecution, said they believed it was a landmark case.

And Detective Graham Naughton, of the British Transport Police Football Unit, said it should act as a warning to all football fans who behave violently on the rail network or premises.

"There is a clear message here and that is if you are violent on the railway, you will be arrested and police will push for three-year football banning orders with travel restrictions," he said.

"For more serious offences, we will press for custodial sentences. The safety of the travelling public, including peaceful football fans, is our first concern and we will not let a hooligan minority compromise that."

The sentence given to Kipling has also been welcomed by Darlington Football Club.

Director of football, Luke Raine said: "We do not condone violence and it has no place in the game.

"Darlington Football Club is a family club and we want people to feel safe and comfortable when they come to watch a game.

"People who resort to this sort of behaviour need to know the repercussions and we welcome the sentence."

Violence flared after Darlington drew 1-1 with promotion-chasing Hartlepool at Feethams.

Hartlepool supporters were set upon as they were being led to the railway station by police.

Thirteen arrests were made and in one incident, CS gas spray was used to control a supporter.