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Home Breaking A spectator who verbally abused and threatened police at a Gillingham FC match has received a three-year Football Banning Order

A spectator who verbally abused and threatened police at a Gillingham FC match has received a three-year Football Banning Order

The incident happened during the League Two fixture against Newport County on Saturday 28 October 2023, shortly after another man had been arrested for a separate incident.

Whilst he was being spoken to by Kent Police officers, 18-year-old Jake Harling approached them and knocked an officer’s hat off. When the officer tried to speak to Harling about his behaviour, he refused to engage and became abusive and confrontational.

Harling, of Blenheim Road, Sittingbourne, continued to shout and swear after being arrested and made threats to harm the officer concerned. He was also found to be carrying a small quantity of cocaine.

Appearing at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 6 December, Harling pleaded guilty to a public order offence, being drunk at a sporting event and being in possession of a class A drug.

In addition to the Football Banning Order, which prevents him from attending any regulated match for the next three years, Harling was also ordered to complete a 12-month community order, 60 hours of unpaid work and a rehabilitation course. He must also pay a victim surcharge of £114 and £85 court costs.

Superintendent Ray Quiller of Kent Police said: ‘The behaviour exhibited by Jake Harling was completely unacceptable and has no place at any football ground. He involved himself in a matter that had nothing to do with him and used highly offensive language in the presence of other spectators including children who were understandably appalled by what they heard.

‘Kent Police has a very good relationship with Gillingham FC and other clubs in the county and we support their efforts to eliminate such incidents from the game. The vast majority of supporters behave impeccably but those like Harling who do not can expect to be arrested and prevented from attending matches in the future.

‘Football Banning Orders were introduced as a way to tackle hooliganism in the sport and we do not hesitate to apply for them in the courts when somebody has been proven to pose a risk to others by committing a criminal offence.’

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