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20 weeks behind bars for HTFC fan following station fight

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Reece McLaren

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A Huddersfield Town fan who attacked and repeatedly punched a group of Halifax Town supporters has been jailed for 20 weeks and banned from attending football matches for eight years. 
 
21- year-old Reece McLaren was sentenced at Huddersfield Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 9 February after pleading guilty to affray. 

McLaren, of Darbyfields, Huddersfield, had been drinking with a group of around 10 fellow town fans in Leeds city centre prior to their team’s fixture against Leeds United on Saturday, 19 March last year. Due to unacceptable behaviour from a number of members of the group they were handed dispersal notices requiring them to leave the city. McLaren and his ‘mates’ then travelled to Halifax where they continued drinking near the station.

At around 5.30pm a group of five teenage Halifax Town fans were waiting at the station following a FA Trophy semi-final fixture against Nantwich Town FC. 

McLaren, who had now returned to the station with the rest of the group, mistakenly believed the teenagers were Nantwich fans and began to throw punches at them in a totally unprovoked attack.

As one of the victims managed to raise the alarm and call police, McLaren and other members of the group jumped onto the tracks and ran off down the line.

He was arrested a few days later after he was recognised by an officer. 
 
McLaren received 20 weeks in jail and an eight-year banning order which, as well as prohibiting him from attending football matches, prevents him from entering the railway when Huddersfield Town are playing away or England are at home.

He was already serving a 32-month sentence for a public order offence committed in Rotherham on the 5 September 2015 following an English Defence League demonstration.


 
Police Constable Wayne Mitchell said: “After already being made to leave Leeds city centre due to his behaviour, McLaren continued to drink and then attacked a group of teenagers who were simply minding their own business at the station after watching the match.

“All of which have been left extremely shaken by his unprovoked and unexpected attack on them. 
 
“Not only is McLaren now behind bars but when he gets out he will be is unable to go and watch his team – or any other – for the next eight years. This should act as a reminder to other troublemakers about the potential consequences of their actions
 
“The vast majority of football fans are well-behaved but sadly, there is a very small minority – like McLaren – who are intent on causing trouble.
  
“Anyone who finds themselves in an intimidating or frightening situation because of the behaviour of football fans should not ignore it – if you tell us, we can do something about it. You can report football-related crime or disorder on the rail network by texting BTP on 61016 or calling 0800 40 50 40.”
 

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