Police hunt protesters who threw flares at football stadium

A player and a 12-year-old girl were injured when flares were thrown into the stadium during an FA Cup draw between North Shields and Bury AFC. (Getty)

Police are appealing for witnesses after a 12-year-old girl and a footballer were injured when flares were thrown into a stadium during an FA Cup match.

A group of protesters began throwing flares inside the stadium during the clash between Bury AFC and North Shields on Saturday September 3, Greater Manchester Police said.

The incident, which happened around 20 minutes after kick-off, left a player and a child spectator with minor injuries, the force said.

The match at Stainton Park, which was being shown live on television, was halted after the incident.

Greater Manchester Police said it was an “isolated incident” and not linked to other reports of fireworks being “used anti-socially” elsewhere in Bury.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 27: Manchester United supporters light a flare during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Manchester United at Friends Provident St. Mary's Stadium on August 27, 2022 in Southampton, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

The incident comes just a week after Greater Manchester Police pledged to take action against spectators who lit flags at a game between Manchester United and Southampton. (Getty)

The force said investigations were underway to identify the men involved and urged anyone with information to get in touch.

Protests were due to take place this weekend against proposals to merge Bury’s two football clubs – Bury FC and Bury AFC.

The incident at Stainton Park also comes just days after Greater Manchester Police pledged to take action against fans seen using flares during Southampton’s clash with Manchester United the week former.

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The warning came after photos shared online showed a flare being used by what appeared to be Manchester United fans at St Mary’s.

Following the call for information about the Bury incident on Saturday, Chief Inspector Samantha Goldie of Greater Manchester Police’s Bury Division said: “While we are planning protests and easing them to the extent possible, we absolutely do not tolerate violence.

“This is a public event and ultimately we want everyone to be safe and have a good time. Thankfully, this reckless and dangerous action by a few did not result in injury. serious.

“We are keen to speak to anyone who may have more information that could help identify those involved. If you witnessed this incident or have any footage, please share it with us as soon as possible.”

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