Flares let off in town after England V Italy game as hundreds gather in High Street


A man was arrested after flares were set off in Bedford High Street after Saturday’s England v Italy World Cup match.

Axel Jones, 23, of Bedford Road, Turvey, was charged with a Section Five Public Order Offence and has been bailed to appear at Luton Magistrates’ Court on August 11.

A police spokeswoman said around 300 “mostly good natured” England fans gathered in the High Street after the game, adding: “It was slightly busier than a normal Saturday night but police were prepared.”

An eyewitness said: ”The atmosphere in the pub during the game was pretty calm but it turned aggressive afterwards. People tried to burn an Italian flag in the High Street but a policewoman came over and stamped it out.

“The atmosphere changed for the worse once the smoke bombs were let off.”

Bedford Italian community advocate Luigi Reale said: ”The atmposhere in Bedford was essentially peaceful. The police should be congratulated for the calm way they handled the night.

“It’s disgraceful a foolish person tried to burn an Italian flag but a few misguided people involved in an isolated incident should not be allowed to detract from the way Bedford communities respect and interact with each other.”

Simone Licciardi, manager of Tre Fratelli Italian restaurant who organised a ‘Respect’ campaign for the match, said: “We had 250 people here and it was great. Both sets of fans were eating, drinking and dancing together.

“At the end of the game everyone shook hands and wished each other well - which is the way it should be.”