‘IDIOTS’ wanting to cause trouble in Boston during the Euro 2012 football tournament have been warned they will be hit with the hardest punishments possible.
Chief Insp Paul Timmins says the authorities will hand the type of tough sentences given to rioters in London last summer to anyone who commits crimes during the event, which begins on Friday.
The town’s top officer wants fans to be able to enjoy watching the matches without fear of violence and disorder – which marred the 2004 championships.
During Euro 2004 there was a riot which saw a police car upturned in the Market Place and set alight and shops looted. The flashpoint came after a game against France, England’s first opponents on Monday.
Chief Insp Timmins said: “The courts have been very supportive as have the Crown Prosecution Service. They are aware that with any offences that come to them that are linked to the football they will be ensuring the full force of their sentencing guidelines will be used.
“People can expect to go to prison for offences during the football, like they did with the riots in London last year.
“I don’t want the reputation of Boston to be muddied. It’s a lovely, friendly market town. There’s a lot of good stuff going on and we don’t want idiots to ruin that.”
Officers will be out in numbers when games are on, not just during England matches.
They will use ‘dispersal’ orders to break up big groups and, if necessary, ban people from the town centre for 48 hours.
Pubs have been working with police to ensure they have enough door staff and many will use plastic cups to serve drinks.
Chief Insp Timmins said he does not expect violence but is ‘not taking any risks’.
He added: “We’re treating the European Championships very seriously. With it being in Poland and Ukraine there’s an added interest for us because we have those communities in Boston.
“Whilst football was the catalyst last time, the riots and violence were a lot more to do with ongoing issues in the town rather than just being football hooligans.”
Chief Insp Timmins urged anyone with information about ‘planned trouble’ to call police on 101.