15 Apr 2013

Police horse ‘totally fine’ after Newcastle violence

The police horse who was attacked when football fans clashed following a Tyne-Wear derby is “totally fine”, his owners say, while arrests continue after a weekend of soccer-related violence.

Bud, of West Yorkshire Police’s mounted section, is taking a well-earned rest before he goes back on duty on Thursday, officers have said.

The horse was controlling crowds at the Newcastle United versus Sunderland match on Sunday when a man wearing a black and white striped top allegedly tried to punch him.

Pictures and video also emerged of a man apparently swinging for the shire-cross, who has been with West Yorkshire Police for seven years, before being wrestled to the ground by officers.

Three police officers were also injured during clashes with Newcastle fans after the side’s 3-0 defeat at St James’ Park.

Sporadic violence

A total of 29 supporters have now been arrested after sporadic violence spread across Newcastle city centre, just a day after crowd trouble marred Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley between Millwall and Wigan.

Video footage of the skirmishes in Newcastle showed crowds picking up empty glass bottles and throwing them towards police.

A force spokeswoman said: “The most serious incident involved a group of Newcastle fans in central station attempting to confront Sunderland supporters, but they were intercepted by officers from British Transport Police.”

There are also reports that a man in a wheelchair was left with burns after being hit by a flare, which was reported to have been thrown from Sunderland’s section during the game. Northumbria police told Channel 4 News that the incident had yet to be reported.

They also said Bud’s alleged attacker has been bailed pending further inquiries.

Inspector Trevor Thackray, of West Yorkshire police’s mounted section, said on Monday: “We are pleased to say that Bud is totally fine and resting up after Sunday’s eventful operation in Newcastle.

“Our police horses are used to dealing with all types of disorder so, while the images on the news may have looked shocking, Bud wasn’t hurt and his regular training ensures that he his acclimatised to this type of situation.

‘Inquisitive personality’

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said Bud was known for his “inquisitive personality” and added: “He loves food and kisses.”

Bud has policed many football matches and recently helped with crowd control at an English Defence League demonstration, the force added.

On Sunday, Chief Superintendent Steve Neill, of Northumbria police, said action would be taken against those involved in the disturbance.

But he added: “The vast majority of fans were well behaved today and enjoyed the Tyne-Wear derby for the great occasion that it is.”

Newcastle United bosses vowed to ban for life anyone found guilty of being involved in the city-centre trouble.

A spokesman said: “We were embarrassed and appalled by the behaviour of a minority of so-called fans who last night were involved in disturbances and disorder in Newcastle city centre after the match.

Lifetime bans

“Newcastle United have been working with Northumbria police, and will continue to do so, in order to identify all of the individuals concerned.

“The club will take the strongest possible action against those involved in the disturbances and will impose immediate lifetime bans on all those found guilty.”

The incidents in Newcastle follow the arrests of 14 men after Millwall fans began fighting with each other during the second half of their 2-0 defeat by Wigan, in disturbing scenes which left youngsters in tears and were witnessed by millions on television.

Scotland Yard said 12 of those held were Millwall supporters, while two were Wigan fans.