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Police officer injured during disorder outside Villa Park thanks public for their support

A police officer injured after disorder outside Villa Park last week has thanked the public for their support

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Disorder erupts outside Villa Park last week

West Mercia PC Andy Forbes was one of a number of officers who supported colleagues at West Midlands Police during Aston Villa’s game against Legia Warsaw last Thursday night.

After the match, PC Forbes had a flare thrown at him which became lodged in his clothes. He was taken to hospital after inhaling smoke and suffering minor burns.

Today, the 43-year-old, who has 20 years’ service in the police said: “I’m thankful that my kit and training stood the test and I have an overwhelming relief that I didn’t receive any injuries that will be everlasting. That certainly outweighs the ifs, buts and maybe. I would like to thank the public for their support."

He was one of five officers who suffered minor injuries on the night, along with two police dogs and two police horses.

Other injuries to officers included concussion and hand injuries.

A total of 45 men and one woman have been charged over the violence, around 40 believed to be from Poland,

Assistant Chief Constable Grant Wills, of West Mercia Police, said: “PC Forbes is a very popular member of our Wyre Forest Safer Neighbourhood Team both with the police and members of the local community, so it was upsetting for all to learn of his injuries in this appalling act of violence.

“Andrew is a regular on duty at football matches in our patch, so he is very experienced in dealing with large crowds and potential troublemakers and he would be the first to step forward and protect his fellow officers.

“But this group were intent on causing injury to others and unfortunately on this occasion, despite them all being in full protective kit, he was one of those who got hurt.

“We are pleased Andrew is making a speedy recovery, we are looking forward to welcoming him back to full duty as soon as possible, and we will work with West Midlands Police to bring those responsible for this terrible night of violence to justice.”