NORTH Yorkshire Police say officers have seen a "surge" in flares being used at York City Football Club games recently.

Football Liaison Officers, also known as ‘spotters’, have seen an increase in flares being set off and thrown at York City home and away games over recent weeks, the force said.

Now the force has issued a reminder to fans that flares should must not be brought into football matches.

The Sporting Events Act 1985, prohibits anyone from taking a flare or firework into a designated sports ground during a sporting event and being found in possession of a flare can lead to arrest, the force added.

North Yorkshire Police works closely with York City Football Club and supporter groups to ensure the safety of everyone attending club matches.

A North Yorkshire Police football liaison officer said: “The use of flares at football games not only puts other fans at risk but also means the club could face sanctions from a number of agencies. We want everyone to enjoy themselves when supporting their local club and be able to do so safely and within the law.

“If anyone is found in possession of or setting off a flare in a football ground then they will be arrested and could face a banning order of up to five years so we’d ask all football fans to please leave flares at home.”

Last month, York City announced a crackdown on the use of pyrotechnics at games after a flare was thrown onto the pitch during the team's opening game of the season at Altrincham.

The incident led to the club announcing that it will follow the Premier League, the Championship, the Football League and the National League in backing the Football Association’s launch of a new education campaign on the dangers of pyrotechnics at football grounds.

The FA is proposing to take action against clubs if fans are found guilty of ignoring the facts relating to flares and smoke bombs. It follows incidents last season.

York City FC director Richard Adams said the “time is right to join forces to introduce a ban on pyrotechnics at all our games – before we face more serious problems – this will include both home and away venues."

He added: “The campaign on the dangers of pyrotechnics at football grounds will be stepped up this season. Fans found guilty of allowing both flares and smoke bombs to be taken into grounds will receive heavy fines and investigations could result in custodial sentences for those found guilty.

“It is illegal for a person entering a sports stadium to possess a firework, flare or smoke bomb, and it is also illegal for a person under 18 to purchase or be in possession of a flare or smoke bomb. Letting off a firework, flare or smoke bomb at a sports stadium is a criminal offence and could result in a police prosecution, banning orders and prison sentences.

“A relatively new phenomenon at football grounds across the country, the abuse of pyrotechnics is following the rising trends in Europe where the number of related incidents rose by more than 2,000 per cent since the 2010/11 season.

“We are following the guidelines set out to ensure fans and supporters are in a safe environment and protected against the pyrotechnics that have been introduced into the game.”