Flare man escapes football ban order

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A COLERAINE football fan who is believed to be one of the first people in Northern Ireland to appear in court for possessing a flare at a game has escaped a Football Banning Order.

Grant Alcorn was with a group known as the ‘Coleraine Casuals’ when he was ejected from a game between Coleraine and Glentoran after he was spotted holding the flare emitting blue smoke - one of the colours in the Coleraine strip.

Coleraine Magistrates Court heard Grant David Alcorn (25), a meat processor, of Elms Park, previously admitted a charge that ‘without lawful authority had in your possession an article or substance ...namely a flare, when you were in attendance at a regulated football match’. A prosecutor confirmed she was not applying for a Football Banning Order.

The incident happened at Coleraine’s last game of the 2015/16 season on May 6 this year - a crucial Europa League play-off at Coleraine Showgrounds against Glentoran which they lost 2-1.

The prosecutor said stewards at the match made police aware that a group known as the ‘Coleraine Casuals’ were present and they saw Alcorn holding a lit flare above his head. He was escorted from the ground and handed over to the PSNI. During police interview Alcorn said he had “no idea” it was illegal to have a flare at a football match.

Defence solicitor Denise Gillan said her client was glad there was to be no football ban as he is a “keen enough supporter” and he will not have any more flares. Fining Alcorn £100, District Judge Liam McNally said the defendant now understands he cannot go to a ground with a flare and he said he should support his team in more traditional ways.