Hibs fan caught with knuckleduster facing prison

Tom McFarlane was spotted by police trying to flee Dens Park. Picture: Julie Bull
Tom McFarlane was spotted by police trying to flee Dens Park. Picture: Julie Bull
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A HIBS fan who was caught with a knuckleduster at Dundee’s stadium after trouble flared between rival supporters has been warned he faces a jail sentence.

Tom McFarlane was found with the weapon in the stands at Dens Park after being searched by police following the disturbance.

Trouble brewed between Hibs fans in the away end and home supporters shortly after half-time during the SPL match.

Police moved in to quell the disorder and 24-year-old McFarlane was spotted trying to flee the ground, but was stopped and searched.

Officers found the knuckleduster concealed in his jacket.

McFarlane, of Lanark Road West, Currie, pleaded guilty at Dundee Sheriff Court yesterday to possessing an offensive weapon at Dens Park on November 17 last year. McFarlane could now face a jail term, while prosecutors have asked that a football banning order is imposed preventing him from attending matches.

Fiscal depute Isma Mukhtar told the court: “On the date in question an SPL match was taking place at Dens Park.

“Shortly after 4pm there was an incident in the stadium itself where Dundee supporters and Hibernian supporters became involved in exchanges.

“The accused himself, a travelling Hibs fan, became involved and police had cause to speak with him.

“He was seen to go towards the exits of the stadium. Given the difficulties that had arisen he was stopped by police and detained on an unrelated matter.

“He was searched by the officers and at that time a black knuckleduster was recovered from within his front jacket pocket.”

McFarlane’s solicitor asked the court to release McFarlane on bail ahead of sentencing next month. Sheriff Derek O’Carroll continued the case for social work background reports to a date in March and granted bail.

McFarlane’s bail bans him from entering Dundee except for court dates and prohibits him from attending any Scottish football match.

Bottom of the table Dundee won the SPL clash 3-1 in a surprise result – with the Easter Road club having started the day top of the league.

Last March, two Lothians men became the first football fans to be convicted under new offensive behaviour laws in Scotland. Andrew Whitson, then 28, from Longniddry, and Paul Swan, then 39, from Tranent, both in East Lothian, were arrested on their way back from Hibs’ match against Ayr United.