A SUPERINTENDENT is warning football fans not to “score an own goal” by using Euro2020 matches as an excuse to drink drive or cause mayhem in the streets of Essex.

Police are ramping up patrols across the county during high profile games in the long-awaited tournament which kicks off on Friday.

Superintendent Nick Morris, who is leading the Essex Police Euro 2020 operation, is upping patrols to prevent a repeat of the chaotic scenes witnessed in parts of the county during the 2018 World Cup.

During England’s World Cup win against Columbia flares were hurled into the air and people climbed on top of bus shelters and lampposts in a frenzy of excitement in Colchester.

Thurrock Gazette:

Mr Morris said: “The European Championship kicks off on Friday and we, like you, are looking forward to watching England – as well as Scotland and Wales – taking part in the tournament.“

"We understand this tournament has been a long time coming, having been postponed last year due to coronavirus pandemic, and many people will be excited to see what Gareth Southgate’s team can do this time around.

“But we would urge you not to score an own goal by using it as an excuse to commit crime, such as drink or drug driving, take part in disorder or commit clear and blatant breaches of the coronavirus regulations.”

Officers have been in touch with licensed premises across Essex and they are aware of what is expected of them.

Mr Morris added: “As a force, we remember what took place in parts of the county, such as Colchester, during the World Cup in 2018 and each person who we identified as taking part in disorder on those occasions has been dealt with and they have had to deal with the consequences of their actions.

“We will have additional patrols in place during high profile matches to ensure that people enjoy them responsibly.

“If you do use the event to take part in disorder, commit crime or commit blatant breaches of coronavirus regulations, we will take action.

“So please, when you are watching your team’s matches, whether that be in the pub or in private homes with friends and family, please be safe and stay within the numbers that are allowed.”