A Football Banning Order has been imposed on a drug user caught with cocaine before a Gillingham FC match.

Kent Police officers ran an operation outside Priestfield Stadium on Saturday 2 December 2023 in which drug detection dogs were present.

Shortly before kick-off in the FA Cup fixture against Charlton Athletic, a man who had travelled to the game with his child and a friend came to the attention of Police Dog Dougal. The man was detained for a search and was seen to drop a small packet of white powder onto the floor, later confirmed to be cocaine.

Police Dog Dougal sniff out the drugs

He was arrested and charged with being in possession of a class A drug, which he told officers he had forgotten had been in his pocket for several weeks and that he was not intending to take into the ground.

The 31-year-old from Chatham pleaded guilty at Medway Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 17 January 2024 and received an 18-month conditional discharge in addition to the Football Banning Order, which prevents him from attending any regulated matches for the next three years.

Chief Inspector Alan Rogers of Kent Police’s Tactical Operations Command said:

‘Gillingham FC and other football clubs across Kent are committed to making the matchday experience as family-friendly as possible. One of the ways they do so is by making their stadium a no-go area for drug users.

‘We are fully supportive of their efforts to help tackle the possession of illegal substances and we look forward to holding similar operations at Priestfield in the future. Anyone planning on taking drugs to a football match should take this outcome as a warning that it could be the last they attend for a number of years.’

By Ed

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