Thursday 11 August 2011

From an arrest for stealing a charity box to an 11-year-old who admits she threw stones, the roll call of riot accused begins

Although his mother insisted he was sorry, the 12-year-old found guilty of taking a bottle of wine from Sainsbury's during the Manchester riots looked far from contrite. He giggled when asked why he had committed the crime. "He's already been shouted at," interjected his 33-year-old mother.

The boy was given a nine-month referral order, which is a non-custodial penalty to be decided by a young offenders panel.

His was one of dozens of cases dealt with over a busy day at Manchester magistrates court, yards from the scene of much of the city's devastation.

In what deputy district judge Alan Berg branded an "act of breathtaking wickedness", Daniel Bell, 30, of Stockport, pleaded guilty to stealing a Macmillan cancer charity collection box containing £50.

Bell, who the prosecution said had an "appalling record", was arrested at 3.30am on 10 August while leaving a looted branch of Maplins carrying the collection box. He will appear in the city's crown court on 1 September.

Berg said: "Of all the crimes I have dealt with today, yours is the most contemptible and despicable."

Defendants appeared on charges ranging from the theft of a £4,500 plasma TV and a £40 T-shirt from Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green boutique, to jewellery looted from the Links store in St Ann's Square and a camcorder from Maplins. All but a handful were sent for sentencing at the crown court.

Berg repeatedly said he wanted to make an example of the rioters. He said: "This is intolerable lawlessness which no civilised society should be expected to put up with."

Helen Clifton


An 11-year-old girl, who left primary school last month, admitted taking part in riots in Nottingham, pleading guilty to criminal damage and attempted criminal damage.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said she had thrown stones and smashed the window of a clothes shop in the city centre. She received a nine-month referral order, which is a non-custodial penalty to be decided by a young offenders panel. She told district judge Morris Cooper she thought she would not be caught.

Cooper told Nottingham magistrates court that the sentence of nine months was "longer than normally given for breaking windows" but reflected the serious nature of the disturbances that gripped the city on Tuesday night.

Nottingham's riots saw a police station firebombed and pubs and shops attacked by mobs of young people. More than 100 people have been arrested and 42 charged in connection with the two nights of disturbances in the city.

The girl, who was about to begin secondary school next term and is in foster care, had been in McDonald's that evening when a group of "30 or 40 boys walked past". She decided to join them, saying in court that "everyone was egging me on".

The district judge asked her: "Do you know how serious this is?" She replied: "Yes, I realise it was more than just messing about."

Her father told the judge that his daughter was "easily led on". He had urged her to apologise in court and her solicitor said she wanted to plead guilty to acknowledge wrongdoing. She had previously been cautioned for criminal damage last year.

In a neighbouring courtroom, judge Tim Devas said that many of the cases brought before him featured "silly, stupid children".

In a case that saw a 15-year-old convicted of a minor disorder offence for running amok in the city centre, he said: "[These are] silly, stupid children taking up police officers' resources while people were looting shops.".

Other teenagers faced more serious charges: one 14-year-old boy pleaded guilty to throwing rocks and bricks at police. He was finally picked up by officers from the roof of a local school.

Devas told one man that he should sort his life out and asked him if he felt ashamed because the public regarded people involved in the riots as scum.

Devas fined Craig Cave, 26, of Beeston, Nottingham, £60 after he admitted obstructing police during disturbances in the city on Tuesday.

Addressing Cave, Devas said: "Let me give you a piece of worldly advice. Get a life, sort yourself out. Don't you feel ashamed that you are now counted among the hundreds of yobbos arrested and now considered as scum by the public?"

Randeep Ramesh


West Midlands Police have arrested about 389 people since the disturbances broke out earlier this week, with some already jailed for their offences.

Ryan Kelly, 20, was imprisoned for six months after he admitted looting £3,500 worth of cigarettes from a Birmingham newsagent. Justinder Douglas, 24, admitted stealing almost £5,000 worth of perfume from House of Fraser and has been remanded in custody until September, when he will be sentenced at Birmingham crown court.

They were just two of the 26 people dealt with at Solihull magistrates in an all-night sitting – which ran from 7.30pm until 6am – to deal with disorder suspects. The court jailed 20 people during the session.

Six of the overnight defendants were juveniles, including a 16-year-old who was remanded into secure accommodation after pleading not guilty to looting rings from a Wolverhampton jeweller.

One of the younger people in the custody of West Midlands police was a 14-year-old girl, who was escorted to a local police station by an uncle who suspected her of coming home with stolen clothing. She was arrested on Wednesday night on suspicion of theft.

At Birmingham magistrates court a father of two became one of the first people in the country to be jailed for disorder offences. Imran Khan, 23, attacked a police officer in Saltley on Tuesday. He admitted using threatening words and behaviour and assaulting a police constable and was jailed for 10 weeks.

Five youths aged 14 to 17 also appeared in court, accused of burgling JD Sports in the Bullring. Their cases were put back until 21 September.