A MAN who chased a football fan while swinging a wooden pole following a Chester FC game has been handed a Football Banning Order.

Mark Macdonald, 61, of Bridge Street, Leominster, was captured on police drone footage breaking off a piece of wood from a sign and chasing after a supporter following the match between Chester FC and Hereford on February 19.

Appearing at Chester Magistrates Court on Monday, June 20, Macdonald – who changed his plea to guilty on the day of his trial, upon seeing the drone footage with a legal representative present – was handed a suspended prison sentence.

Prosecuting, Alan Currums said there had been an assault involving a number of people just off Bumpers Lane following the football match, which was not picked up on the police drone.

While not responsible for the assault, Macdonald was seen on the footage to kick at a sign on the junction of Bumpers Lane and Hartford Way until a wooden pole piece broke off. He then ran after an unknown male.

After his arrest, in police interview, Macdonald said he was ashamed and very sorry for what he had done.

He had not been before the court since the early 1990s, but a previous offence had involved disorder at a Chelsea FC game.

Defending, Catherine Higham said Macdonald had entered a prompt guilty plea on the first occasion he was able to view the footage with a solicitor present.

The offence had been "spontaneous" in response to seeing a man in a pool of blood on the floor, and he wanted to "ward off people who he believed had caused the injury", but accepted he had gone about that the wrong way.

Macdonald was "thoroughly embarrassed by his actions", which were "isolated behaviour".

The defendant had anxiety and depression, and had been struggling with his mental health, particularly during the pandemic.

He was assessed as a low risk of reoffending and had not been to a football match since.

Deputy District Judge John Rowan said: "This is serious offending; an aggravating feature is it was in the context of a football match and you had consumed some alcohol.

"One of your previous convictions relates to a Chelsea match, albeit some time ago, and that concerns the court.

"No-one was injured as a result of your actions, but there was a risk of serious disorder. There were people on the floor, injured, and you contributed to that level of fear and violence."

Macdonald was handed a five-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work.

He was was handed a three-year Football Banning Order which meant he would be banned from attending certain football matches and would have to comply with a number of police obligations.

He must also pay £300 court costs and pay a victim surcharge.