Nearly 20 football fans have been charged after an alleged fight broke out following a UEFA Europa League game in Aberdeen.
Police swooped on the city’s Holiday Inn Express on Chapel Street early yesterday, with officers seen leading a group of men into the waiting vans.
The raid happened just hours after officers were called to reports of a disturbance on the street, following the Dons clash with Maribor at Pittodrie.
Last night, police confirmed 16 men – from both clubs – had been charged in connection with the incident.
They are expected to appear at Aberdeen Sheriff Court on Monday.
It is understood that about 20 Maribor FC fans had travelled to the Granite City from Slovenia for the game.
Police last night said 13 of those charged were from Eastern Europe, while the other three men are local. They are all aged between 19-41.
Chief Inspector Nick Topping, who is also match commander, said: “I can confirm that a number of people are currently detained following a minor disturbance involving some individuals who we believe are football fans from both clubs.
“This was a contained and isolated incident which posed no threat to any other members of the community and no-one was seriously injured.
“In saying this, I cannot stress enough how disappointed I am that a small minority chose to conduct themselves in a disorderly manner.”
Yesterday, at about 10am, about four police vans and three police cars arrived at the city centre hotel.
Over the course of an hour, officers could be seen leading men from the city centre hotel and piling them into the waiting police vans.
Katie MacPherson, who works at the Ross of Chapel Street bakery across from the hotel, said: “First of all it was the one riot van, two normal vans and a police car that came up the road.
“Then I look up the road and another van, and another van appeared.
“For 20 minutes nothing happened, and then all of a sudden we saw people in handcuffs getting put into the first van.
“They brought out five guys at first, all in handcuffs.”
The bakery worker said she believed some of the group had been at the shop on Thursday, and had shouted “rudely” when they discovered it was closed.
Last night, a spokesman for Aberdeen Football Club said: “We are aware of the situation and of course if any Aberdeen fans are found to be guilty of anything they will be dealt with appropriately by the club.”
The Slovenian team drew 1-1 with the home side, and the return leg will be played next week in Maribor.
Ch Insp Topping said there had been no reports of trouble before or immediately after the match, and praised the majority of fans.
“There were no reports of any antisocial behaviour leading up to the match last night, during the match and in the immediate aftermath, and I would like to thank all those fans who attended and acted responsibly and enjoyed the game.
“Antisocial behaviour in any shape or form will not be tolerated.
“There is no place for disorderly behaviour in our towns and cities and I can assure you it will be robustly dealt with.
“I would like to reassure the public that our officers will continue to take positive action to target individuals who engage in antisocial or disorderly behaviour and bring them before the courts.”