Police raid homes of suspected hooligans

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A 15-YEAR-OLD boy was among six suspected football hooligans arrested in a new wave of dawn raids following violent clashes before last month's Hibs-Rangers match at Easter Road.

The teenager from the Redhall area has been charged with breach of the peace and was set to appear in court today.

Seventeen officers from Lothian and Borders Police carried out a string of arrests after tracing the suspects captured on CCTV footage.

The team was aided by officers from the Central Scotland and Strathclyde forces who launched early morning operations in their own areas. A 31-year-old from Ayrshire and a 31-year-old man from Stirlingshire were also tracked down and detained.

Police chiefs from Edinburgh shared the security camera footage with their colleagues in the west to identify the suspects, who are both believed to be linked to Rangers.

The other men arrested in the Capital yesterday were an 18-year-old man from Pilton, a 19-year-old man from Lochend and a 31-year-old man from Portobello. The six were all due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court today.

Warrants have also been issued for two suspects who were on the police hit list, but could not be found at their home addresses.

The latest swoops brings the total number of alleged thugs arrested in the wake of the game on March 4 to 23.

Out of the ten men arrested in operations last Thursday, three were remanded in custody while three more were given special bail conditions banning them from SPL grounds.

CCTV footage captured scenes of fighting on the streets in the Meadowbank and Jock's Lodge area, which erupted just before kick-off.

A special squad was set up to review security camera footage and collect intelligence before making the arrests.

Today, a police spokesman said: "We hope that these raids will act as a reminder that there is no place for this type of behaviour. We work closely with football clubs and supporter's groups to ensure that games are safe and enjoyable places.

"Anyway that causes trouble can expect to face the consequences of their actions".

The ten suspected casuals who appeared in court on Friday were charged with a breach of the peace.

James Hunter, 30, Kevin Watt, 18, and Joseph McLellan, 18, were remanded in custody following their hearings and were expected to be fully committed today.

Stephen Watt, 17, Richard Grady, 19, and Gary Quilletti, 25, were released on bail with the special condition that they do not approach within 100 yards of any SPL football ground two hours before, or after, kick-off.

David Low, 41, Blair McKinnon, 26, Marc Johnstone, 29, and Steven Salmond, 24, were released on bail.

Around 70 people were involved in the fracas with witnesses describing the mob as "running absolutely riot". Seven arrests were made shortly afterwards in connection with the disturbance.

It is thought that the hooligans linked to Rangers were largely from Edinburgh rather than Glasgow.

Police believe the mass brawl which took place in front of shocked passers-by on a Sunday afternoon may have been pre-arranged between the rival groups using mobile phones or via websites. The subsequent arrests were carried out at homes in Leith, Restalrig, Pilton, Saughton and the city centre.

The crackdown follows the wave of arrests made in the weeks after October's Hearts-Hibs derby. Dozens of hooligans fought running battles in Lothian Road and Fountain Park following the match and 54 suspects have now been traced and charged.

Anyone with information about football-related disorder is asked to contact police on 0131-311 3131.