5:30pm Update – Cheshire Police have charged six men with affray following an altercation involving rival football fans.
Three men from Chester (aged 49, 28 and 23), an 18-year-old man from Tarporley and two men from Wrexham (aged 25 and 20) were arrested in a joint Cheshire Police and North Wales Police operation earlier today.
They have all been released on conditional bail and are set to appear at Chester Magistrates’ Court on Friday 13 April.
The charges relate to an incident that occurred at The Cross on Eastgate Street in Chester in the hours preceding the Chester City versus Wrexham National League match on Wednesday 8 November 2017.
As part of their bail conditions the men are banned from attending the corresponding league fixture between the two football clubs in Wrexham at noon on Sunday 11 March.
A 14-year-old boy from Wrexham who was arrested on suspicion of affray has been bailed pending further enquiries.
A 33-year-old man from Chester who was arrested on suspicion of affray has been released without charge.
Original information from this morning below…
Seven men and a 14-year-old boy have been arrested on suspicion of affray following a series of ‘dawn raids’ carried out in Cheshire and North Wales.
They have all been arrested in relation to an altercation involving rival football fans.
The incident occurred at The Cross on Eastgate Street in Chester in the hours preceding the Chester City versus Wrexham National League match on the evening of Wednesday 8 November 2017.
Detectives from Cheshire and North Wales have conducted an extensive joint investigation in an attempt to identify those involved in the altercation.
With the corresponding league fixture between the two clubs in Wrexham just days away (taking place on Sunday 11 March), officers carried out a series of warrants, leading to today’s arrests.
Four men from Chester (aged 49, 33, 28 and 23), an 18-year-old man from Tarporley, two men from Wrexham (aged 25 and 20) and a 14-year-old boy from Wrexham have been arrested on suspicion of affray.
They are all currently in custody assisting officers with their enquiries.
Cheshire Police Detective Sergeant Stuart Needham said: “The arrests are the culmination of a four-month joint investigation with North Wales Police.
“We have spent a significant amount of time gathering evidence, analysing CCTV footage and images and working with our colleagues in North Wales Police to get to the stage where we have been able to make eight arrests in a co-ordinated joint force operation.
“While the majority of football fans who went to the Chester versus Wrexham match on Wednesday 8 November behaved well, unfortunately there were a small number who were intent on committing crime and disrupting the lives of those who live, work and visit Chester.
“There was an altercation between Chester and Wrexham supporters at around 3pm. A number of innocent members of the public/shoppers were present and we received multiple calls about the incident.
“Fortunately no-one required hospital attention and no damage was caused as a result of the altercation, but such incidents will not be tolerated.
“The arrests we have made should serve as a warning to football fans that go to games looking to cause, or get involved in, trouble that anyone who commits an offence will be located and brought to justice, no matter where they live.
“I would like to thank all of the officers who carried out the raids, including our colleagues at North Wales Police. Without their support the multiple arrests in two separate countries on the same day would not have been possible.”
The arrests come ahead of the Wrexham v Chester match this Sunday, that is an all ticket game, and for the first time in a while will not be a ‘bubble match’.
Chief Supt Alex Goss said of the forthcoming match: “We have been actively working with both clubs and Cheshire Constabulary to do all we can to ensure that the event is safe and pleasant for everyone. We have a responsibility to safeguard the rights of fans to attend and to safeguard the rights of individuals to carry out their normal lives. I am grateful to the clubs for agreeing the ticket arrangements which will help us achieve this.”
“For the first time in a number of years special travel arrangements for this fixture at the Racecourse, involving the use of designated coaches, have not been implemented. Visiting fans are free to travel to the match as they wish. However, I would urge all fans to make their way to the ground in plenty of time and to behave responsibly.”