Fan running on pitch and making rude gestures at rivals has been banned for three years

A football fan who ran onto the pitch and made a rude gesture at away supporters when his team was tied for a draw, has been banned from all football games in Britain for three years.

Jacob Hemsley, 24, walked onto the playground at Amex Stadium in Brighton, East Sussex, to make a “w****r sign” at Crystal Palace fans during clashes between rival teams earlier this year.

He managed to hit the ground in the final moments of the match to celebrate a Brighton & Hove Albion goal, then gave an aggressive salute to dodge Mahal’s supporters.

Prosecutors said shocked families and children saw her aggressively waving her hands.

Hemsley then ran back into the stands to avoid being caught by the police and the steward.

But he was caught on CCTV and the club staff kept an eye on him so that the police could arrest the fanatical fan a few minutes later at half time.

Speaking to officers at the time, Hemsley claimed he did not know he had committed the crime and could not understand why he was arrested and questioned by police.

He told the police: “Man, I just ran across the pitch in front of all those guys.”

Palace were winning 1–0 until the 87th minute when the South London club scored their own goal to level the game. It was in this dramatic moment that Hemsley launched himself onto the pitch to celebrate.

After the match on 14 January, Hemsley of Burgess Hill, West Sussex, was charged with going to the playing field of a football match, contrary to the Football Offenses Act.

At Brighton Magistrates Court on Thursday (9 June), he pleaded guilty and was given a three-year football ban order, which bars him from taking part in any professional matches in England and Meczyki for three years.

He also cannot attend England games and must hand over his passport to the police when the national team plays abroad.

Hemsley was also ordered to pay a £400 fine, which included a £40 victim surcharge and £85 court expenses.

Sussex Police’s dedicated football officer PC Darren Balkham said today (Tuesday) that there has been an increase in fan attacks on the pitch at all levels of the professional game as the season draws to a close.

He said Hemsley had a “moment of madness”.

PC Balkham said: “In recent months we have seen an increase in the number of incidents of fans taking to the pitch.

Helmsley claimed he was just celebrating and having fun, but admitted he caused disruption and apologized. He was seen protesting against fans at the game.

“Fans who go on the pitch without authority pose a danger to players, club staff and stewards, other fans and themselves.

“This shows the strong belief that anyone attacking the pitch is committing a criminal offence, and we will not tolerate this.

Halsley was given a three-year football ban order that prevents him from participating in all football events within the UK and is barred from traveling when the England team is playing outside the UK. Hov also faces further action from Albion.

“This is the price he has to pay for his moment of madness.”

Brighton and Hove Albion said Hemsley will also be banned from some home and away fixtures for the South Coast team after the three-year order expires.

A spokesman for the club said: “We welcome the decision and thank Sussex Police and the court for their support in prosecuting the offender.

“Proponents have no excuse to leave the stand and enter the pitch in this manner, as it puts their safety and that of others at risk.

“We noticed a worrying trend in pitch infiltration at the end of last season across the UK, and all supporters should be reminded that this is a criminal offence.

“The safety of players, officials, stewards and staff is of paramount importance, and it is essential that they be able to go about their jobs without fear of interference or pitch attack.

“Therefore, in addition to the sentence handed down by the court, he will also face a significant ban of all Brighton & Hove Albion fixtures, home and away.”

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