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Flare And Smoke Grenade Amnesty In York This Weekend


10:46am 10th July 2014

The initiative is being held with the support of York City Football Club to raise awareness of the dangers and the law around flares and smoke grenades which many people believe are harmless.

A red bin will be placed outside the ground where fans can drop off any flares or smoke grenades ahead of Saturday’s game against Sheffield Wednesday.

Sergeant Colin Sutherland of York Safer Neighbourhood Team, said:

“We’ve noticed 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."

“In reality, 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 pyrotechnics and to set them off in a public place.”

He added:

“We’ve been increasingly concerned about the growing use of ‘pyros’ at football games across the country and, although we’ve only had a few incidents at Bootham Crescent, we want to prevent more from happening and this campaign is more about education for supporters who may be unaware of the legislation.”

“We need people to understand the potential dangers and also realise that possession and use of ‘pyros’ in a public place is a serious criminal offence that could result in a football banning order or a prison sentence.”


It is an offence for an person to enter or attempt to enter a stadium while in possession of pyro (Section 2A The Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985. Maximum Sentence 3 months imprisonment or level 5 fine – up to £5000 ). 

It is also an offence to set off pyro in any public place, which includes a football stadium and surrounding area:

◦          Explosives Act 1875 – offence to throw or discharge a firework on the street or in a public place.  Maximum sentence Level 5 fine -up to £5000;

◦          Section 2A Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol) Act 1985 – offence to discharge pyro in the stadium. Maximum sentence 3 months imprisonment or level 3 fine – up to £1000;

◦          Fireworks Regulations Act 2004 – offence to discharge fireworks after 11pm except in certain circumstances.  Maximum sentence Level 3 fine – up to £1000. 

It is an offence for a person under the age of 18 to be in possession of pyro in a public place:

◦          Regulation 4 Fireworks Regulations 2004 – can result in a recordable PND £80. 

 A conviction, caution, or PND for possession or use of pyro will be disclosed on any Disclosure and Barring Service (CRB) application, and may drastically affect a person's ability to obtain employment.

Pre-season friendlies as still classed as 'Regulated' football matches and the same football laws apply.  Any fan attempting to enter a stadium or entering a stadium with pyro is likely to be arrested and prosecuted and will face a football banning order for at least 3 years, in addition to a possible prison sentence.  A football banning order not only restricts a fan from attending home and away matches but may also prevent them from entering a town when their team is playing a match in that town, and may require them to hand their passport to Police when their team or the England national team is playing an international game.


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