Terror attack barriers to go up at St James' Park

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St James' Park Newcastle
Image caption,
More than 50,000 supporters regularly attend home games at St James' Park

Security barriers are to be placed around Newcastle United's St James' Park in an effort to prevent terror attacks.

The portable structures are to be erected at key points on matchdays to stop vehicles driving into crowds.

The club and Northumbria Police have stressed there is no specific threat to the city or Newcastle fans.

Vans and lorries have been used in recent terrorist attacks in London and cities across Europe.

The Northumbria force said the move was a "sensible" response to the attacks, with Newcastle City Council adding the decision had "not been taken lightly".

'Protect the public'

A council spokesman said: "With vehicles used as weapons to drive into crowds in Nice, Berlin, Stockholm and more recently in London, the police and ourselves in partnership with the Fans Forum and the club have decided to protect the 52,000 supporters who regularly flock to St James' Park.

"We have seen the death and destruction caused by terrorists who use vehicles as weapons by driving them into crowded places.

"We have a duty and responsibility to do all that we can to protect the public, and this is what we will do."

Additional road closures will also be in force on matchdays, particularly around Strawberry Place, following advice from the National Counter Terrorism Unit.

Barriers will remain in place until 20 minutes after the game ends.

A Northumbria Police spokesman added: "This is a sensible, practically focused and proportionate partnership plan with public safety at its core.

"Whilst there is no current intelligence to indicate St James' Park or its wider environs will be targeted, we continue to robustly scrutinise and be vigilant around events generally."

The new measures are due to be tested on 6 August, when Newcastle entertain Verona in a friendly.