Clarets fan sees stadium ban terminated

A Burnley supporter banned from football matches for three years after pushing an undercover security guard in the face has had the order removed.

Friday, 14th October 2016, 3:14 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 2:33 pm
Keith Sprigg had pleaded guilty to common assault on Elliott Hindle in 2014.

The town's magistrates terminated the ban, made more than two-and-a-half years ago, after an application from Keith Sprigg, 52.

Sprigg had received the banning order on March 18, 2014, after he had pleaded guilty to common assault on Elliott Hindle. The offence had taken place on March 1, 2014, at the Clarets' match against Derby County at Turf Moor.

The court this week heard how Mr Hindle was in plain clothes, monitoring the crowd for any signs of disturbance. He had heard Sprigg 'constantly using foul language,' and he was asked to leave by stewards at half-time. Sprigg was said to have asked a man, 'Who has grassed me up?'

When the man pointed out the victim, Sprigg pushed him in the face as he was leaving. Mr Hindle's head hit the steel door frame of an exit gate and Sprigg was detained.

When Sprigg was interviewed, he told police he had been swearing and that 'everybody does it.' He admitted he was out of order, but said he wasn't drunk and had only had four pints before the game. He stated he was sorry.

Sprigg, of Nairne Street, Burnley, had been fined £85, with £85 costs, a £20 victim surcharge and £50 compensation for the assault.

He had been back in court in October last year after falling foul of the order by not surrendering his passport to the police - even though they had already got it, the court had on that occasion heard.

Sprigg had had to hand in his passport to police when England was playing certain matches abroad. He had been told to do it for the England fixture with Italy on March 31, 2015, but had given in his passport to police the October before and not collected it. That meant he should have gone to the police station and told them he didn't have it.

Sprigg had admitted failing to comply with the banning order, between March 26th and 27th, last year. His solicitor at the hearing had told the bench : "He certainly didn't intend in any way to flout the order."

Sprigg had been given an absolute discharge by the justices, who said the case was very unusual. Chairman Mr John James had told him : "We feel it's very much a technical breach."