FOUR arrests have been made after masked men drove onto a pitch in a hearse during a football match.
Gateshead FC were playing at Dunston UTS FC in a friendly when the hearse, along with a silver Subaru, drove onto the pitch on Friday night.
Footage taken by shocked spectators showed a group of masked men men performing donuts and drifting across the pitch while a number of posters were thrown from the car windows.
The hearse was left in the middle of the pitch, with the referee having to abandon the match at half time with the score 1-1.
Four men have now been arrested in connection with the stunt, understood to be a protest over the ownership of Dunston.
Two 19-year-old men, along with a 32-year-old man, have been arrested on suspicion of affray.
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A fourth man, 41, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit criminal damage.
All four men remain in custody at this time, Northumbria Police has said.
A spokesman for the force said: "Four men have been arrested following a disturbance during a football match in Gateshead on Friday evening.
"An investigation was immediately launched – and extensive enquiries have been ongoing to establish the full circumstances surrounding the report, and locate those involved."
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One fan in attendance described the stunt as a "terrifying experience", adding that there had been "plenty of children about" at the time.
A police statement added: "Disorder will not be tolerated in the community, and anyone found to be involved will be dealt with robustly.
"Officers would like to thank members of the public who have come forward to assist the investigation to date. People are also reminded to continue to avoid any speculation online and on social media as enquiries continue.
"Police will remain in the area throughout the weekend – and those with concerns and information are encouraged to speak with an officer on duty.
"Enquiries are ongoing and we would urge anyone with information or footage, who has not yet spoken to police, to get in touch. Your information, no matter how small, could prove vital to our enquiries.
"Anyone with information can speak with an officer on duty, contact police using the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of the Northumbria Police website or call 101 quoting reference number NP-20230721-1154."
A Dunston UTC club statement said: "We are all deeply saddened at the events that took place last night. Thankfully nobody was physically hurt or injured.
"The club would like to put on record that one individual named on the leaflets distributed during the pitch invasion, has had no connection with Dunston UTS FC, in any official capacity, for over two years.
"The other individual has no connection with our club whatsoever."
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