Gateshead friendly abandoned after masked men invade pitch with car and hearse

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The match against Dunston was level at 1-1 when chaos ensued in the north west of England on Friday evening

Football fans at the UTS Stadium stood in shock, fear and pure confusion on Friday evening when Gateshead's friendly against Dunston descended into chaos as masked men invaded the pitch in a hearse throwing leaflets.

The game was level at 1-1 when the funeral car, accompanied by a Subaru, was driven on the field of play at around 8.20pm. The vehicles drove around in circles, throwing pieces of paper out of the window, before people wearing balaclavas abandoned the hearse and left the area.

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Hearse on the pitch brings Gateshead friendly to a halt - Credit: GatesheadHearse on the pitch brings Gateshead friendly to a halt - Credit: Gateshead
Hearse on the pitch brings Gateshead friendly to a halt - Credit: Gateshead | Gateshead

Bringing the match to a grinding halt, the referee decided to abandon the friendly with Gateshead confirming the news in a tweet which said: "Due to an incident on the pitch occurring shortly after half-time, tonight's match has been abandoned by the referee."

Northumbria Police has confirmed no-one was injured as a result of the incident and an investigation has been launched.

A spokesperson for the authorities explained in a statement: "Disorder will not be tolerated in the community and anyone found to be involved will be dealt with robustly. While inquiries are at an early stage, it is believed that those involved are known to each other and there was no wider risk to the public.

"We are also aware that images and videos of the disturbance are being circulated on social media. Members of the public are urged not to speculate and are encouraged to share any footage with police to assist the investigation. Police remain in the area to carry out inquiries and offer reassurance to the public and those with concerns are encouraged to speak with an officer on duty."

The leaflet distributed by the masked men featured images of two men and acted as a warning letter, raising allegations.

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