‘We know who lit the flare’

Flare safety: There has been a rise in fans setting off fireworks
Flare safety: There has been a rise in fans setting off fireworks
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Football club bosses are hunting for hooligans who set off a flare and injured a spectator at a match.

Yobs set off the firework 20 minutes into the second half of Chorley FC’s Fa Trophy Third Round replay against Tamworth FC.

And club officials believe they know the identity of the vandals.

Graham Watkinson, club secretary and vice chairman, said: “We think we know who it is and we will be passing the names on to the police.

“The lad saw the stewards coming towards him and chucked the flare on the floor damaging people’s property.

“We are pretty confident that we are getting to grips with the group responsible – they are not Chorley fans.

“We are a small, family club and everyone knows everyone, so someone will know who it is and we will find them.

“We’ve never had these problems before, but the stewards reacted to it as soon as it happened on Tuesday night.”

A match at Preston North End was recently marred by a pyrotechnic incident but is the first time a flare has been smuggled into Victory Park.

Mr Watkinson said: “We have searched everyone’s bags coming in and out of the ground as some other clubs in our league have had problems.”

The attendance at the match was 1,393, Chorley’s highest gate of the season. The flare left two men’s shoes covered in red dye and one fan with an eye injury.

A steward – who refused to be named – said: “The smoke travelled throughout the stand and I found the flare on the ground.

“One lad’s trainers were ruined and my son’s £100 white Air Max trainers have been dyed red – he only just got them for Christmas.”

Another eye witness who does not wish to be identified said: “It happened right next to me. I was on the left hand side talking to my mate in the main stand and then the next thing I knew, red smoke was everywhere.

“I couldn’t see for about five minutes and I didn’t want to miss a second of the game. The smoke stank.

“My eye has been sore and it has been bad for about two days.”

Lancashire Police said the incident had not yet been reported.

If you have any information, please contact Chorley Football Club on 01257 230007.