FOUR arrests were made after masked men drove into a pitch in a hearse during a football match.
Gateshead FC were playing against Dunston UTS FC in a friendly when the hearse pulled onto the field along with a silver Subaru on Friday night.
Footage captured by shocked spectators showed a group of masked men performing donuts and drifting across the pitch while several placards were thrown from car windows.
The hearse was left in the middle of the pitch and the referee had to abandon the game at half-time when the score was 1-1.
Four men have since been arrested in connection with the stunt, which was understood to be a protest against Dunston’s possessions.
Two 19-year-old men and a 32-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of the affair.
A fourth man, 41, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit property damage.
All four men currently remain in custody, Northumbria Police said.
A police spokesman said: “Four men have been arrested following a riot during a football match in Gateshead on Friday night.
“An investigation was launched immediately – and a full investigation was conducted to determine the full circumstances surrounding the report and to locate those involved.”
A fan who was in attendance described the stunt as a “terrifying experience,” adding that “there were a lot of kids around at the time.”
A police statement continued: “Unrest will not be tolerated in the community and severe action will be taken against anyone found to be involved.”
“Officials would like to thank the citizens who have come forward so far to assist the investigation. People are also reminded to continue to avoid online and social media speculation while the investigation continues.”
“Police will remain in the area throughout the weekend – and those with concerns and information are asked to speak to an officer on duty.
“The investigation is ongoing and we are asking anyone with information or footage who has not yet spoken to police to get in touch with us. Your information, no matter how small, could prove crucial to our investigation.”
“Anyone with information can speak to an officer on duty, contact police via the Tell Us Something page on the Northumbria Police Service website or call 101 quoting reference number NP-20230721-1154.”
A statement from the Dunston UTC club said: “We are all deeply saddened by the events that took place last night. Thankfully no one was physically hurt or injured.”
“The club wishes to state that a person named in the leaflets distributed on the pitch during the raid has had no official connection with Dunston UTS FC for over two years.”
“The other person has no connection to our club.”