LIGHTING flares inside stadiums cannot become part of the culture of English football, the game’s police chief Andy Holt has warned.
Two men were arrested on Sunday and later bailed after a flare thrown from amongst travelling Tottenham supporters at Villa Park hit assistant referee David Bryan.
And Holt is concerned a growing number of flares being taken into stadiums means this may not be an isolated incident.
“Last year we saw an increase in the use of flares and pyrotechnic devices by nearly 140 per cent compared to the previous season,” said Holt, head of football policing.
“Arrests for the possession of a firework or a flare were up more than 150 per cent.
“It is prevalent abroad and I would argue they have a greater problem than we do in this country. But I’m anxious we don’t head the same way and it does not become embedded in the culture of English football.
“It is no way appropriate to let off either smoke flares or fireworks inside a stadium.”