Lancashire Police investigating why Preston officers gave 26 Middlesbrough football fans a lift to the pub in riot van after Championship match at North End

Lancashire Police said it is investigating why officers in Preston gave 26 visiting football fans a lift to a pub in the back of a riot van at the weekend.

By Matthew Calderbank
Monday, 9th May 2022, 11:00 am
Updated Monday, 9th May 2022, 12:50 pm

It follows footage which appears to show the police van crammed with Middlesbrough supporters being dropped off outside a pub on their visit to the city for the final Championship match of the season at North End on Saturday (May 7).

In the video, a total of 26 Boro fans – along with a giant inflatable pink elephant – are seen climbing out of the Mercedes Sprinter as it pulls up outside the Brook Tavern, off Blackpool Road.

A police spokesman said: “We are aware of the video and are investigating the full circumstances surrounding the incident.”

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After watching the footage, some viewers applauded Preston Police, saying the officers had acted in the best interest of supporters by ensuring their safety.

"Nice to see friendly community policing at its best,” said one viewer.

But others were less impressed and expressed concern at the large number of passengers onboard – a total of 26, plus three officers.

Lancashire Police say they are investigating why 26 visiting Middlesbrough fans were given a lift to a pub in the back of a police van ahead of the match at North End on Saturday (May 7)

"If a member of the public was stopped and had that many people in the van they would be in trouble,” said another after watching the clip.

When used for non-policing purposes, Mercedes Sprinters are normally designed to carry up to 12 passengers and one driver, based on the number of seat belts available.

It is not clear how many passengers can safely be transported in the customised police model used by the Lancashire force.

You can read our full North End match report here.