A MAN has been charged with abusing Brighton and Hove Albion supporters in the third reported case involving opposition fans.

Southampton supporter Jonathan Coombs, 28, was arrested inside the Amex stadium, shortly before the Seagulls’ game against the Saints on Sunday.

The shop employee, from Southampton, has been charged with using threatening and abusive words and behaviour.

It comes after two previous incidents involving away supporters abusing Albion fans.

In September, Leicester City supporter Jason Holmes was fined after making homophobic chants during the Foxes’ win over Brighton the previous month.

Holmes admitted a charge of indecent chanting and was fined £300 at Leicester Magistrates’ Court.

A second man, aged 21, who was arrested on suspicion of making obscene gestures, was given a caution.

In October, a West Ham fan caused offence after posting homophobic abuse to Albion fans on Twitter, following the Albion’s victory at the London Stadium .

A man named Jay, who goes by the Twitter handle @Crezzwel, posted: “Yes. We did just lose 3-0 to Brighton. F****** Brighton. A side that shouldn’t even be in the Premier League dirty f***.”

The West Ham who continued to posted offensive tweets caused a backlash prompting Sussex Police Albion liaison officer PC Darren Balkham, to reply: “Jay, I would quit whilst you are losing. Be assured I have your full details by now and would recommend we continue the chat off line.”

Now Sussex Police have announced they are investigating the homophobic tweets following West Ham’s defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday, October 20.

PC Balkham said: “We take a robust stance in relation to tackling homophobia at football matches, whether home or away.

“Our operation to combat it is recognised by the Football Association as best practice and works on the premise of positive outcomes and education.

“I am pleased that other clubs in the Premier League are supportive and we have already seen action taken against people who have targeted Brighton and Hove Albion supporters.”

Tim Carder, secretary of the Albion Supporters’ Club, said: “We in the supporters’ club, especially Liz Costa and the late Sarah Watts, have been campaigning against homophobic abuse of Albion fans for several decades.

“That campaign has done a great deal to educate football supporters that such abuse is unacceptable in modern society.

“The situation within stadiums is not yet perfect, but homophobic abuse is now generally regarded as antisocial and has led to arrests and convictions, which receive a great deal of publicity.

“If people go on to social media platforms to abuse people then they need to look over their shoulders because it’s also unacceptable and the police may well track them down.

“We applaud Darren Balkham, who is a great friend to Albion fans, for his action.

“Antisocial abuse of any sort, at football matches, in public or on social media, is not acceptable in this day and age, and it’s time that everyone realised that.”

Brighton and Hove Albion FC declined to comment until the matter has been dealt with in court.

Coombs, of Olive Road, Southampton, will appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on November 30.