The Manchester United supporter was caught with the device hidden down his trousers as he was about to enter the ground for the club’s Premier League clash with Swansea City on August 30.
Swansea Magistrates Court heard that the 27-year-old had travelled from Manchester to Swansea on a supporters bus on the morning of the game, and was part of a group of fans being escorted into the Liberty by police officers when a smoke bomb was let off — police then searched the other fans and found the hidden Smoke Fountain Red.
He was arrested and taken to Swansea Central police station where he said he had been given the banned device by a fellow fan on the bus to South Wales. He pleaded guilty to possessing a firework while trying to enter a designated sports ground — contrary to the Sporting Events Act 1985 — when he appeared in court.
Lawyer Craig Harding, in mitigation, said his client had no malicious intent in trying to take the smoke device into the stadium, but rather had been “stupid” in trying to smuggle the device inside. He said he was not involved in any violence or criminal behaviour that was sometimes associated with football, adding “He is a genuine supporter who travels the length and breadth of the country to support his team, when work and finances allow”.
Magistrates fined the crane operator £500 and ordered him to pay £85 costs, £150 criminal courts charge and £50 victim surcharge.
At the request of Greater Manchester Police he was also made the subject of a three-year Football Banning Order, preventing him from attending any football matches in the UK which are regulated under the Football Spectators Act 1989. As part of the order he cannot enter Manchester city centre and the area around Old Trafford for a period of four hours prior to any Manchester United fixture and six hours after. He is also prevented from attending any city centre where Manchester United or England are playing.