Football fan says: 'I'm no hooligan' after ban breach
"I AM not a hooligan, I just want to go back to watching Leeds play."
Those were the words of Aaron Cawley who was found guilty of breaching his football banning order for the third time.
The 20-year-old from Blenheim Square, Cheltenham, was been banned from every football ground in the country when he was 16 after he was caught at the centre of 200-strong riot at Leeds' Elland Road ground.
He was found guilty of breaking his latest two-year ban at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.
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His ban forbids him from travelling on the national rail network to or from any town or city on the day Leeds play a home or away game in that city.
He was charged with breaching the order on November 6 last year when he was found travelling by train to Coventry on the day Leeds were playing in the city. He had previously breached it twice before and so the order had been extended.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Thomas said Cawley was found on November 6, carrying a train ticket from Cheltenham to Coventry, a Leeds away match ticket and a membership card in his friend John Dymock's name. Cawley maintained he was going to Birmingham's Bullring shopping centre
Cawley said: "My banning order was three months from being overturned.
"If I was going to risk it I would have done it years ago. The risk was not worth it. I am not a hooligan. I don't go to cause trouble."
His brother Michael said: "A few years ago he did breach the banning order but he has not done since."
Defending, Gemma Bond said: "It was never his intention to use the ticket. It was his intention to go to the Bullring and meet his friends after the game."
Police were alerted to Cawley's whereabouts when he was discovered being noisy and disruptive in a coffee shop at Cheltenham Spa Railway Station. They found he was the subject of the banning order and officers stopped him at Birmingham New Street station.
Finding Cawley guilty, magistrate Jane Saltmarsh said: "You yourself knew a banning order was in operation. You should not have accepted a ticket that said Coventry on it."
She ordered a probation report on Cawley to be made before sentencing. He was released on unconditional bail to return to Gloucester Magistrates' Court on Monday for sentence.