MERSEYSIDE POLICE arrested seven Everton fans after raiding two coaches on their way to Cardiff.
Officers boarded the buses at around 2pm, shortly after the supporters had set off to watch the 3-0 win in Wales.
Seven Everton fans have been arrested for cocaine, cannabis and drug-driving after Merseyside Police raided two supporter coaches[/caption]
One coach, stopped on Bowring Road, saw two men arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine, three men were arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis and a youth was reported for possession of criminal property (cash) and possession of cannabis.
The driver was arrested on suspicion of drug-driving.
In a second coach, raided on Electric Avenue, one man was arrested on suspicion of possession of cannabis.
Eight wraps of white powder and 10 bags of suspected cannabis were seized following a search of the vehicle.
Fifteen cases of alcohol were also recovered in the search, with both coaches able to continue their journeys to Cardiff following the arrests and seizures.
According to the Liverpool Echo, the raids were part of a pre-planned operation after fans were involved in a number of incidents in recent away matches.
Four Liverpool men were arrested on February 9 after a fight broke out minutes after Everton’s match against Watford – two men were left needing hospital treatment.
In January, an Everton fan was slashed in the face after a huge brawl with rival Millwall fans before the FA Cup clash.
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On Tuesday’s arrests, Inspector Mark Keenan from Matrix Operations told the Echo: “The arrest of seven people this afternoon is the result of a lot of meticulous, hard work by our investigation teams.
“We are investigating the possibility that the consumption of excess alcohol and drugs on coaches have been contributory factors in recent incidents of disorder, and today’s activity is the direct result of that work.
“It has been supported by partners including Everton Football Club and the Driving Standards Agency, and its primary aim is to protect people of all ages who want to go to football matches to support their team free from the fear of violence and disorder, and to ensure law-abiding citizens including families are not exposed to the taking of illicit drugs.
“The overwhelming majority of fans conduct themselves with dignity and are a credit to the city, and the vast majority of bus operators are compliant with legislation put in place to guarantee the safety of all passengers.
“Their good name should not be tarnished by a minority who do not uphold the same standards of behaviour.”