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Two men get four years' jail for creating pro-riot Facebook pages

Two men who posted messages encouraging others to loot their home town are given four years’ imprisonment each.

Notes are pinned up at a 'Peace Wall' on a boarded-up window of the Poundland store on Rye Lane, Peckham, which was destroyed during last week's riots.
Notes are pinned up at a 'Peace Wall' on a boarded-up window of the Poundland store on Rye Lane, Peckham, which was destroyed during last week's riots.
Image: John Phillips/UK Press

TWO MEN who set up Facebook pages calling on other users to join in looting during last week’s riots in England have each been sentenced to four years imprisonment.

The Guardian reports that Jordan Blackshaw, 20, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, were each sentenced to four years in jail by a judge at Chester crown court for their role in inciting violence through the social networking site last week.

Blackshaw had created an event called ‘Smash Dwn [sic] in Northwich Town’, asking people to convene outside a McDonald’s restaurant to set about on a looting spree last Wednesday night – but was met only by police, who arrested him.

Sutcliffe-Keenan created a page called ‘The Warrington Riots’ in the early hours of Tuesday morning, which the court had been told “caused a wave of panic” in the town. He claimed to have deleted the page the following morning.

The Daily Telegraph quoted the presiding judge who commended local police for their quick actions, and for their tactic of monitoring Facebook to keep up with developments.

The local assistant chief constable said the court’s action “sends a strong message to potential troublemakers about the extent to which ordinary people value safety and order in their lives and their communities.”

The sentences were handed down just as courts elsewhere in the UK were criticised for what some saw as draconian punishments for relatively minor offences.

One man who pleaded guilty to stealing two scoops of ice cream from a cafe in Manchester – only to give the cone away, because he didn’t like the taste – was told he could face a jail term when he is sentenced next week.

Around 1,200 have already appeared in court in connection with riot-related charges. Approximately 3,000 were arrested across Britain in connection with the disturbances.

London police used BlackBerry messages to foil attacks >

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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