A SOLDIER involved in violence surrounding a Hereford FC match escaped a prison sentence as the judge didn’t want him to be discharged from the Army.

Violence broke out outside pubs in Commercial Road before Hereford’s game against Stockport County last April, with the confrontations between the two groups of fans continuing after the full-time whistle.

Lee Donald Prince, 28, was told by a judge at Worcester Crown Court on Tuesday (September 15) that he should have known better than to get involved in the violence on April 6, 2019.

Prosecuting barrister Graham Russell said Prince, of Kingsway in Hereford, was only involved in trouble around the Merton Meadow car park after the game.

Prince had picked up a flare thrown by Stockport County fans and hurled it back towards the rival supporters who were being escorted to coaches by police.

Speaking in Prince’s defence, Lowri Wynn Morgan said the father-of-two’s involvement was “incredibly foolish” and throwing the flare back “could’ve been considered as malicious”.

Judge James Burbidge QC gave Prince full credit for pleading guilty to one count of violent disorder, but said the court had to take a “robust” view of football violence.

It comes a week after the same judge jailed two other supporters for the role they played in the violence before and after the match.

READ MORE: Hereford FC supporters jailed over violence at Stockport County match

But after learning a suspended sentence would likely result in Prince being discharged from the Army, the judge said a 12-month community order was the “right sentence” in a unique case.

He was fined £2,000 and banned from Hereford games for the length of the order.

The judge added Prince’s action were not “truly malicious and did not injure anyone”.