Children bullied into taking smoke grenades to football matches, Northamptonshire Police say

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Northampton Town FC and Northamptonshire Police are reminding all supporters about the dangers and penalties of smoke grenades, flares and fireworks.

Police said there have been a number of ‘pyro’ incidents at recent games as fans seek to create a special atmosphere around the ground.

In reality, Northamptonshire Police says, they “pose a danger to everyone in the stadium” and it is a criminal offence to enter or attempt to enter a stadium while in possession of fireworks, smoke grenades or other ‘pyro’ and to set them off in a public place.

Fans have even used young supporters to smuggle pyros into stadiums and avoid blame themselves.

PC Nick Price of Northamptonshire Police said, “It is an offence for anyone under the age of 18 to be in possession of ‘pyro’ in a public place and there is some evidence to suggest that young people are being bullied into taking smoke grenades into football games against their will.

“If they are caught, they risk getting a criminal record and even a caution will stay on their record, meaning it could affect their employment prospects for years to come.”

Officers are hoping to make supporters more aware of the potential dangers and the criminal consequences of using ‘pyros’, and ultimately stop people bringing them into the stadium.

PC Price said: “I understand there has been discussion on social media about the difference between a smoke grenade and a flare or firework. The general view of supporters appears to be that smoke grenades are a ‘bit of fun’ whereas there is a general acceptance that the use of flares in a stadium environment is dangerous.

“However, smoke grenades can also be dangerous and to set them off in a public place is illegal.”