Friday, July 19, 2024

Gateshead match abandoned after hearse drives onto pitch

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A Gateshead FC match has been called off in chaos after a funeral hearse and a car were driven onto the pitch.

The National League club’s friendly against Dunston was abandoned at half-time amid extraordinary scenes which stunned watching supporters.

Footage posted on social media showed the vehicles being driven in circles in the centre of the pitch.

Two men – who witnesses said were masked – then climbed out of the hearse and into the car and left the ground.

Gateshead fan Archie told the BBC the intruders “apparently barged through the gate from the car park” then broke through the railings along the edge of the pitch.

He said posters were thrown out of the car’s window in an apparent protest before “two people in ski masks” jumped out of the hearse and into the silver car and drove off.

The posters included a number of personal allegations about two individuals.

‘Terrifying’

Matty Hewitt, a football writer at the Newcastle Chronicle, said Northern Premier League club Dunston’s UTC Stadium was evacuated as a police helicopter circled overhead following the incident.

“Two cars driven onto the pitch with masked men getting out and leaving a hearse on the pitch,” he tweeted, describing it as a “terrifying experience with plenty of children about”.

Gateshead FC said: “Due to an incident on the pitch occurring shortly after half time, tonight’s match has been abandoned by the referee.”

Northumbria Police said no-one was reported to have been injured or threatened and they had launched an investigation.

A spokesman said: “Disorder will not be tolerated in the community and anyone found to be involved will be dealt with robustly.

“While inquiries are at an early stage, it is believed that those involved are known to each other and there was no wider risk to the public.

“We are also aware that images and videos of the disturbance are being circulated on social media.

“Members of the public are urged not to speculate and are encouraged to share any footage with police to assist the investigation.

“Police remain in the area to carry out inquiries and offer reassurance to the public and those with concerns are encouraged to speak with an officer on duty.”

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