Euro 2012: Bedford disorder after England lose to Italy

media captionSupt Mark Turner said the 1,200-strong crowd was well-policed and well-behaved

Four people have been arrested after disorder broke out in Bedford following England's defeat to Italy in Euro 2012.

About 150 England fans headed to The Embankment after the game and targeted Italian fans, who had formed a cavalcade of vehicles to celebrate.

Some of the vehicles were damaged and one person was attacked but not seriously hurt, police said.

Officers were forced to close the High Street and The Embankment and are reviewing CCTV.

About 1,200 England fans had watched the Kiev game at bars on the High Street, with the vast majority heading home after the game, police added.

'Stuck in cars'

A cordon was put in place as the streets filled after the match, but about 150 people broke away.

image captionAn Italian flag was burnt during the clashes

Police said they prevented the group from confronting a larger group of Italian fans who had gathered in Russell Park.

Supt Mark Turner said: "Sadly a well behaved build-up to the game was marred by approximately 15 minutes of sporadic disorder in Bedford High Street and The Embankment after the penalty shoot-out.

"A group of approximately 150 people broke away and ran towards the Embankment straight into grid-locked traffic as many Italian fans had formed a cavalcade of vehicles to celebrate and it was at this point some vehicles were attacked by the crowd.

"While order was quickly restored, this was undoubtedly an extremely unpleasant situation for people trying to leave the area sensibly and particularly for those stuck in their cars."

Three people were arrested for criminal damage and one for assault.

'Mindless idiots'

Bedford has had a large Italian population since the 1950s.

Roberto Marino, 16, who rode his moped through Bedford while wearing an Italian shirt, managed to avoid the crowds.

image captionAlec Goodwin witnessed the trouble in Bedford

He said: "They were hitting cars, trying to get inside and just hurling abuse at people in the cars."

Alec Goodwin, who also witnessed the trouble, said: "Cars started getting hit, windows broken. Cars were trying to get through this mass of people."

Supt Turner added that police had expected many people to come out on to the streets after the game.

"The tournament as a whole, across Bedfordshire, has been very successfully policed, and people have been enjoying the football," he said.

"Unfortunately a small group of mindless idiots had to break away - but unfortunately that's the price we pay sometimes.

"What I would say is that the huge majority of the crowd were very well behaved."

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