German Police See How Exeter Airport Thwarts World Cup Hooligans

Football hooligans who think Exeter International Airport is an easy route to the World Cup should think again, police have warned.

German authorities have given their seal of approval to the city's bid to stop troublemakers spoiling the occasion.

And German police officers, visiting Exeter Airport to observe security measures, said that British police had successfully stopped hooligans flying to Germany.

The officers arrived in the city as part of a tour of British airports to see how policing operations are working and said they were impressed by what they had seen.

Devon and Cornwall police reissued warnings that they were on the look-out for people trying to use Exeter Airport as a back door to Germany.

A Plymouth man was arrested at the airport this week and two known hooligans, realising that the game was up, failed to turn up for their flights.

A police spokesman said: "As it is a regional airport and there are no direct flights to Germany, some might see it as a key start-off point.

"For instance, hooligans may catch a flight to Dublin and then fly from there to Germany."

One of the German officers, Insp Sandra Kessing, said: "British police have been successful with the banning order as 98 per cent of known hooligans have surrendered their passports. A German newspaper has even reported that Germany does not have any trouble with English football hooligans - you have them all over here. I hope England win the World Cup as we have enjoyed our stay and want to stay longer"

Sgt Paul Taylor, of Devon and Cornwall police, said: "It is good that the officers have come here for public reassurance.

"We have officers over there, so this demonstrates how we are all working together to help prevent trouble."

Police have reassured people concerned that hooligans may make trouble in Exeter.

A spokesman said: "Patrols will be highly visible in places where there is likely to be trouble."