A FOOTBALL hooligan was banned from attending matches for three years after he brandished a flare at a Wrexham FC match.

FC Halifax Town fan Thomas Simpson, 20, was also found to have a quantity of cocaine on him following the incident at his side's National League encounter with the Reds at the Racecourse Ground on February 10.

Justin Espie, prosecuting at Wrexham Magistrates Court, said CCTV had identified fans setting off flares in the away section leading to Simpson, of Parkside Avenue, Bradford, being led from the stand.

Mr Espie said he had discarded the flare and been allowed to return to the stand but following another incident he was pulled out and arrested by police who found he was in possession of cocaine for which he later tested positive at the station.

Stephen Edwards, defending, said Simpson was very lucky to be supported by his father who attended court despite being "shocked by his son's predicament".

Mr Edwards said the 20-year-old was not a life-long supporter and only occasionally followed Halifax to matches.

He said Simpson was in the third year of a joinery apprenticeship and that his father had taken steps to ensure his son attended drug rehabilitation following the incident.

Mr Edwards added that the man's father also supported a football banning order as he felt his son had got in with a bad crowd when attending games.

"He is a young man who has made a few foolish decisions," added Mr Edwards, who also told the court that Simpson had not lit the flare but held it up.

District judge Gwyn Jones handed Simpson a three year football banning order and fined him £150 for waving the flare and £150 for possession of a Class A drug. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Mr Jones said: "It may have been planned more by others but there is no excuse for your behaviour and the matter is aggravated by the Class A drugs in your possession."