Four men broke into Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium ahead of Michael Carrick’s testimonial last week, according to the BBC.
The “urban climbers” breached security by getting onto the stadium roof and pitch just hours before last Sunday’s game and less than two weeks after the Manchester terror attack, which left 22 people dead.
The men were chased by security staff and managed to avoid capture, while no arrests were made, the police said. The group targeted Old Trafford shortly after getting on the roof of a hotel in the centre of Manchester.
A United spokesman said: “Their stupid and irresponsible actions, especially at such a sensitive time, put last Sunday’s game at risk and occupied both club staff and, more importantly, police officers in hours of work to make sure that the stadium was safe to stage the match. Such efforts appear to be motivated by a trend for similar actions on social media.”
The spokesman added that the police later searched Old Trafford to ensure it was safe to stage the testimonial match.
The incident took place just hours ahead of last Sunday’s “One Love Manchester” concert to benefit those affected by the Manchester attack, staged at the Old Trafford cricket ground, which is down the road from the football stadium. It also came just a day after last Saturday’s terror attack in London, which killed eight people.
“With over 130,000 people coming into the Old Trafford area on Sunday, the last thing [police] needed was to have their time wasted in this way,” the United spokesman added.
Two fans slept undetected overnight in Old Trafford in November before watching United’s game with Arsenal, while in May 2016 the Red Devils’ match against Bournemouth had to be abandoned after a suspect package was found in one of the stands.