Four people were arrested for driving a vehicle meant for carrying a coffin, on the pitch during a preseason football match between Gateshead And Dunston FC, forcing the referee to abandon the match.
The match between two non-league English teams, Gateshead and Dunston, was called off at halftime on July 21, 2023, shortly before 8:30 p.m.
The Funeral vehicle spun around in a circle, and leaflets were thrown from the car.
The Men in the vehicle put on an outfit that covered them from head to toe. They left the first car, and entered another, which conveyed them off the pitch.
No one was injured during the brief incident. However, damage was done to the gate of the stadium as the men drove the funeral car into the pitch.
When the Police arrived at the scene, the penetrators had already left. Immediately, the ground was evacuated, and the Police’s helicopter flew around the pitch in a bid to get the suspects.
The Northumbria Police said on July 22, 2023, that three men were caught in the area of the incident. The first person is aged 19, the second is also aged 19, and the third is 32-year-old.
They were caught in an affray. While the last person, who is 41 years old, was arrested for conspiracy to commit criminal damage.
Those three will remain in police custody pending further investigation. The Northumbria Police said, “Disorder will not be tolerated in the community, and anyone found to be involved will be dealt with robustly.
“Officers would like to thank members of the public who have come forward to assist the investigation to date. People are also reminded to continue to avoid any speculation online and on social media as inquiries continue.
“Police will remain in the area throughout the weekend, and those with concerns and information are encouraged to speak with an officer on duty.”
An eyewitness whose name was not revealed said, “It was horrible to see. There were loads of kids in tears. It all happened so fast, probably in less than a minute. At first, people were just watching what was happening, but then people started running away.
“I heard people say they had guns, and people were running for cover in the football match. I’ve never seen anything like it. I just hope everyone is okay.”
National League North side Gateshead Football club and Northern Premier League outfit Dunston each reacted to the incident via Twitter. However, no official reason for the cancellation of the match was given,
The statement from Gateshead says, “Due to an incident on the pitch occurring shortly after half time, tonight’s match (at Dunston FC) has been abandoned by the referee.”
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