Celtic fan banned from football grounds for throwing smoke bomb into pub

The trial took place at Dumbarton Sheriff Court. Picture: John Devlin.
The trial took place at Dumbarton Sheriff Court. Picture: John Devlin.

A football fan has been banned from every football ground in the UK after throwing a green and white smoke bomb into a pub just hours after an Old Firm match.

Edward Rice, 55, pleaded guilty to the incident at a hearing in Dumbarton Sheriff Court last Friday.

The Celtic season ticket holder threw an ignited smoke grenade into The Royal Bar in Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, on September 23 last year.

His actions, which he claims to have no recollection of, caused the bar to be filled with smoke to the danger of pub patrons.

Rice has now been slapped with a football banning order preventing him from entering any ground in the UK for two years.

And the engineer will be forced to surrender his passport to police whenever the Scottish champions are playing abroad until January 2020.

Fiscal depute Emma Thomson told the court that Rice had travelled to Helensburgh on a Celtic supporters bus after the game.

Sheriff John Hamilton was then shown CCTV evidence on screens in open court showing the moments Rice hurled the smoke bomb into the packed pub.

A customer was seen on screen picking up the grenade, running out of the pub and taking it to the other side of the road with smoke still billowing out of it.

Defence lawyer Anna MacKay said: “The individual who purchased the grenade did so on the internet. It was nothing to do with the military and it was not a flare.

“Rice is a professional man and works as a civil engineer. His hobbies are hillwalking and being a football fan.

“He is mortified by this offence and realises his conduct was both stupid and irresponsible.

“He has no recollection of doing this but shows genuine remorse in respect of the incident.

“On the day of this Old Firm match, he only managed to get a ticket for the game at the last minute.

“The pub itself is a mixed pub and indeed some of the people who had been on the bus with him were already inside for a drink.

“His actions were nothing short of sheer drunken stupidity. Sectarianism was not a motivation.

“My submission is that a football banning order does not fall into the legislation in this case. He is a Celtic season ticket holder and has been to thousands, not hundreds of Celtic games.

“Clearly alcohol had a big part to play.”

Sheriff John Hamilton told Rice: “A pretty strong message has to get out that people cannot carry smoke bombs and use them in this way.

“You threw a green and white smoke grenade into a pub and caused panic.

“There were even people from your supporters; bus, which you had travelled on, in the pub.

“The message has to get out that this is unacceptable behaviour.

Rice was put on a community payback order and ordered to carry out 150 hours of community service to be completed within 12 months.