POLICE are urging football fans to hand in illegal flares and smoke grenades when they hold a “pyrotechnic amnesty.”

They will be at the Bootham Crescent, home of York City, on Saturday, July 12, when the home side takes on Sheffield Wednesday.

A red bin will be placed outside the ground where fans can drop off any flares or smoke grenades ahead of the game.

The initiative is being held with the support of the club to raise awareness of the dangers and the law around flares and smoke grenades - which some people believe are harmless.

Sergeant Colin Sutherland, of York Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “We’ve noticed discussion on social media about the difference between a smoke grenade and a flare or firework.

“The general view of supporters appears to be that smoke grenades are a ‘bit of fun’ whereas there is a general acceptance that the use of flares in a stadium environment is dangerous.

“However, smoke grenades can also be dangerous and to set them off in a public place is illegal.

“In reality they pose a danger to everyone in the stadium and it is a criminal offence to enter or attempt to enter a stadium while in possession of fireworks, smoke grenades or other pyrotechnics and to set them off in a public place.”

He added: “We’ve been increasingly concerned about the growing use of ‘pyros’ at football games across the country and, although we’ve only had a few incidents at Bootham Crescent, we want to prevent more from happening.”