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Police: Flying 'White Lives Matter' Banner Over Sports Stadium is NOT a Crime

Stunt over Burnley's Etihad stadium investigated by UK police

 on 24th June 2020 @ 12.00pm
a banner reading  white lives matter burnley   was flown over the etihad stadium on monday © press
A banner reading 'White Lives Matter Burnley!' was flown over the Etihad stadium on Monday

UK police have determined that no crime was committed after they were called to investigate when a plane flew over the Etihad sports stadium in Lancashire with a banner that read: "White Lives Matter Burnley!"

The stunt took place during a soccer match between Manchester City and Burnley FC on Monday.

The incident triggered outrage online, with allegations of "racism" and "hate crimes," yet police investigating the Burnley football fan who chartered the plane say no crime was committed. 

Jake Hepple, from Colne, near Burnley, claimed responsibility for the pre-match stunt.

"I'd like to take this time to apologise... to absolutely f***ing nobody!" he wrote on Facebook.

A group of Burnley fans, known as The Suicide Squad, is believed to have crowdfunded the flight and its message; "White Lives Matter Burnley!"

jake hepple  left   pictured with tommy robinson  claimed responsibility for the stunt © press
Jake Hepple (left), pictured with Tommy Robinson, claimed responsibility for the stunt

The plane was timed to fly over the stadium just after Manchester City and Burnley FC players had taken the knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Lancashire Police confirmed Tuesday that Mr. Hepple had not been found to have committed a criminal offense.

Hepple also posted in support of the English Defense League (EDL) on Facebook and has been pictured with its former leader, Tommy Robinson.

Chief superintendent Russ Procter said: "Today Lancashire Constabulary has been in liaison with Greater Manchester Police, the Aviation Authority and the Crown Prosecution Service regards the 'White Lives Matter' banner that was flown over the Etihad Stadium last night.

"After assessing all the information available surrounding this incident we have concluded that there are no criminal offences that have been disclosed at this time.

"We will continue to work with our partners at the football club and within the local authority."

the banner was flown over burnley fc s etihad sports stadium as players took a knee in protest © press
The banner was flown over Burnley FC's Etihad sports stadium as players took a knee in protest

Despite the police findings, Hepple's employer, an engineering company in Burnley called Paradigm Precision, said they were looking into his conduct and would announce any action soon.

"It's now apparently racist to say White Lives Matter, the day after three white people got murdered in a park in Reading, but all we've seen on the TV is Black Lives Matter after George Floyd got murdered," Hepple said on Facebook.

"What a mad world we live in," he added.

The stunt led to outrage and has been widely condemned, with Burnley captain Ben Mee saying he was "shamed and embarrassed."

Speaking after the match, which his side lost 5-0, he noted that the Burnley players had heard "whispers" that something may have been planned.

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