Police give 26 Middlesbrough fans a lift to the pub in a riot van in Preston

This video shows the remarkable moment more than 20 football fans pour out of a riot van and into a pub after being given a lift by police.

Lancashire Police has said it is investigating why the officers decided to take 26 Middlesbrough fans to the pub in the back of a riot van at the weekend for the final game of the season against Preston North End.

The remarkable footage shows the riot van crammed with Boro supporters - complete with a giant inflatable pink elephant - being dropped off at the pub on Saturday (May 7).

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The fans are seen climbing out of the Mercedes Sprinter as it pulls up outside the Brook Tavern, off Blackpool Road.

Lancashire Police say they are investigating why 26 visiting Middlesbrough fans were given a lift to a pub in the back of a police van ahead of the match at North End on Saturday (May 7)

A police spokesman said: “We are aware of the video and are investigating the full circumstances surrounding the incident.”

After watching the footage, some viewers applauded Preston Police, saying the officers had acted in the best interest of supporters by ensuring their safety.

"Nice to see friendly community policing at its best,” said one viewer.

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But others were less impressed and expressed concern at the large number of passengers onboard – a total of 26, plus three officers.

"If a member of the public was stopped and had that many people in the van they would be in trouble,” said another after watching the clip.

When used for non-policing purposes, Mercedes Sprinters are normally designed to carry up to 12 passengers and one driver, based on the number of seat belts available.

It is not clear how many passengers can safely be transported in the customised police model used by the Lancashire force.