Police attended Saturday’s football match between Stevenage FC and Grimsby Town because people were injured in disturbances at Grimsby’s last away game, the Comet can reveal.

The Comet: Police were present at Saturday's game after disturbances were reported at a previous Grimsby match.Police were present at Saturday's game after disturbances were reported at a previous Grimsby match. (Image: Archant)

This crucial piece of information may shed light on the reasons why security staff at the Lamex Stadium adopted a ‘robust’ approach at the weekend’s game, which has sparked a flurry of criticism from Grimsby supporters.

A media storm erupted after Grimsby Town supporters group the Mariners Trust wrote an open letter to Stevenage FC, criticising the conduct of security staff at Saturday’s game – which it said included asking women to pull up their tops to show their bras, confiscating items that were not banned, and carrying out body searches on children as young as five.

The supporters’ group said it could not understand why the stewards were “antagonistic” towards them, with the visiting fans “treated as animals”.

A spokeswoman for Herts police, however, confirmed this afternoon that police briefed the club “as a matter of course” because of intelligence from Grimsby’s previous away game, at Chesterfield on August 5 – when there was a public disorder which led to people being injured.

She said: “Police were in attendance at the match due to intelligence regarding a previous game between Chesterfield and Grimsby Town, where there was public disorder and members of the public were injured.

“Police officers were in attendance at Saturday’s match, but were not involved in any of the searches that were carried out by stewards.”

She added that the club rather than the police would have briefed the security staff, and that it would not be police policy to search bras or search children.

After Grimsby’s season opener on August 5, Derbyshire police reported they had carried out a “significant” operation as some 2,700 Grimsby supporters travelled to the game – and that some pubs in Chesterfield decided to shut their doors after the final whistle because of “nuisance and rowdy behaviour” by small groups of fans before the match.

Grimsby supporters had been warned not to travel to the Chesterfield game unless they had tickets, and told there would be an increased police presence.

The letter from the Mariners Trust alleges other security failings including the posting of a female security guard inside the male toilets, and stewards standing in front of Grimsby supporters and blocking their view of the game.

Stevenage FC, the police and the English Football League have said they are looking into the matter.