Watch as police chauffeur group of Leeds United fans to PUB in armed vans in Bristol
A group of Leeds United fans have praised police after they were given a chauffeur service to the pub with three armed vans to rescue them from torrential Storm Brian conditions.
A video of the Leeds United away fans supping cans of cider in the back of Avon & Somerset Police vans while they were given a lift to the pub has gone viral online.
Paul Gott, 45, was with a group of 30 Leeds fans after the match against Bristol City on Saturday.
The group was being followed by officers as they made their way from the club’s ground towards pubs in the city centre following the game - but the group was battling extreme wind and rain.
The fans tried to enter a pub but were turned away due to being a Bristol City fans haunt.
One of the police officers then asked the fans if they would like some vans to take them to a pub and save walking through the torrential storm conditions.
“One of the coppers took us aside and asked if we’d like some vans. The rain was absolutely hammering down - you could read the tattoos through one bloke’s shirt.
“I don’t think the police wanted to walk in the rain either, and it was about an hour from the ground to a pub in the city centre.
“A few minutes later three armed police vans arrived and we all got into them with the officers. We then started filming as we drank in the back and that ended up going everywhere online.”
Paul praised the police’s sympathetic approach, adding: “They treated us like human beings. A lot of places we go, we don’t get that, we just get treated like scum, like cattle.
“We all had a whip round to say thanks to the driver, but he said he couldn’t accept it, so we put it in the police charity box.
“We pulled up at a Wetherspoons in the city centre and all got out of police vans and went into the pub - I don’t think the locals knew what was going on!
“When you watch the video, you can see how well the police treated us, and we gave it back. It’s about mutual respect.
“There was nothing sinister about it - they just treated us really well.”
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: "Given the potential public safety implications, we take policing of football matches seriously and plan according to the intelligence, information and threat
"This includes working closely with the two clubs involved in the fixture
"There were no arrests on Saturday and Storm Brian thankfully did not deliver any unexpected emergency situations for anyone involved – something that we were also keeping a watching eye on
"We’d like to thank all fans who enjoyed the game and ensured a trouble-free fixture.
"We are always cautious about allowing away fans to drink in public houses which are used mainly by home fans. Where intelligence and threat dictates, this is rigorously enforced to prevent potential disorder. In this case we moved several Leeds fans from directly outside a public house used by Bristol City fans."