AN 18-year-old Lancashire Football Association referee has started a petition to get lone match officials fitted with body cams to deter abuse and violence.

Ryan Hampson, who has been head-butted and punched by players and verbally abused and spat at by spectators, believes the move would improve behaviour in the pitch at amateur fixtures.

His petition on Change.Org has been signed by more than 450 people with a view to getting the national FA to change the rules and the issue debated in Parliament.

Mr Hampson, who switched from the Manchester FA to Lancashire this year because of the level of abuse he had been receiving said: “It is time something was done.

“Lone referees at Sunday League and other junior matches should not face physical and verbal abuse.

“The proposal is that the FA should change the rules to permit referees to wear them then the referees could buy them themselves for £30, the fee for a single match.

“If people know referees were wearing the cams, it would deter players, spectators, managers and parents from behaving abusively.”

Roger De Nobrega, Lancashire FA chairman, said: “It is certainly and idea worth considering.”