Toy guns smuggled into Old Trafford: Manchester United security review sparked by Juventus pitch invader
- Toy guns have sparked Manchester United into conducting a security review
- Two toy guns were smuggled into Old Trafford during the clash with Juventus
- A spectator who invaded the pitch brought the fake weapons into the stadium
- He was arrested and held in police custody overnight after entering the pitch
- The fan was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act by police
Manchester United are reviewing their security after a man who invaded the pitch during their Champions League clash with Juventus was found to have smuggled two toy guns into Old Trafford.
The spectator, who was arrested and held in police custody overnight, was subsequently detained under the Mental Health Act after he ran on to the field three minutes into the home side’s 1-0 defeat last Tuesday.
As United prepared to take a free-kick in front of a 73,946 crowd, the man, in his 40s, made a beeline for the players but slipped as he got close and was tackled by stewards. When security staff went to his seat they found a backpack which contained what has been described as two toy guns.
Manchester United are reviewing security after two toy guns were smuggled into Old Trafford
The man was arrested and held in police custody and detained under the Mental Health Act
The breach raises serious questions for United, who have spent huge sums trying to ensure that Old Trafford is a safe venue and who launched ‘enhanced searches’ at the beginning of last season.
All bags should be rigorously examined and those with bags over a certain size are ordered to surrender them for later collection. Searches are also carried out at turnstiles. How the man was able to bring two toy guns inside a bag into the ground will be one of the main issues to be addressed, along with his ability to get on to the field of play.
A United spokesman said: ‘Carrying a children’s miniature plastic toy gun into a stadium is clearly an extremely irresponsible act. Fortunately, the actions of the pitch intruder at the Juventus game did not harm anyone.
‘However, as the security and safety of all fans and staff is the absolute priority at Manchester United, the club immediately launched an investigation. This includes a full review of our already rigorous security protocols, using our own security teams together with external expert consultants.’
A United spokesman said: ‘Carrying a children’s plastic toy gun into a stadium is irresponsible’
The incident is the latest to embarrass the club, who use an independent company, Controlled Solutions Group, which is located next to Old Trafford.
In 2016, United’s match with Bournemouth was abandoned after a dummy explosive was found stuck to the back of a toilet cubicle door. As revealed by Sportsmail, the fake device had been left over in error from a training exercise.
In November of that year, two supporters slept inside the venue after breaking free from a tour group the night before United hosted Arsenal in a bid to watch the match. In June of last year, four ‘urban climbers’ broke into the stadium hours before Michael Carrick’s testimonial match and less than two weeks after a terror attack killed 22 people at Manchester Arena.
The pitch invasion was one of three on the evening which have seen United charged by Uefa.
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