A JUDGE has locked up five young men for their part in causing a “catalogue” of damage to businesses in Huddersfield last summer on a night when riots occurred in a number of cities.
Sentencing them at Leeds Crown Court yesterday, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said they were involved in serious public disorder against a background of disturbances in other cities and towns.
“In Huddersfield 60 people were arrested and investigated, members of the public were distressed and upset. I have no doubt their anxiety was made worse by what was going on in other parts of the country.”
Judge Marson said the Lord Chief Justice had indicated in such cases courts had to pass deterrent sentences to ensure the protection of the public, their businesses and the streets in which they live.
He accepted the five were not involved in a group of 30 throwing missiles towards police on the evening of August 9, 2011 or direct violence to the public, but added: “What you had decided to do was wanton and ridiculously stupid damage.”
The court heard around £5,000 damage was caused that night as objects were thrown at shop windows and a CCTV camera was pulled down.
The five had done what they could to protect their identities by pulling hoods up or, in the case of Dale Field, putting a scarf around his face.
“This is the sort of conduct, particularly set against the background to which I have referred, which inevitably calls for substantial custodial sentences,” the judge told them.
The five all admitted conspiracy to commit criminal damage and violent disorder. Field, 23, of Bishops Court, Berry Brown, Huddersfield, who also admitted on other dates burglary, aggravated vehicle taking and breaching a suspended sentence, was jailed for a total of three years, eight months.
Patrick English, 20, of Willow Lane East, Hillhouse, Huddersfield, was sent to a young offender institution for 32 months, his brother, Aiden English, 19, then of the same address, was sent to a young offenders’ institution for two years.
James McDonagh, 22, of Loughfield Avenue, Dalton, Huddersfield, was jailed for 26 months and John Hall, of Sufton Street, Birkby, Huddersfield, was sent to a young offenders’ institution for 15 months.
Mehran Nassiri, prosecuting, said the outbreaks of violence in a number of cities typically saw shops and buildings damaged, looted and, in some areas, set on fire, attracting national attention.
As a result on the evening of August 9, extra police patrols were deployed in the Huddersfield area. Around 10.40pm officers were called to the Asda store in Bradford Road after reports of vandalism and were met by a group of around 30 youths throwing missiles.
The defendants were not among them but Field was seen looking over a wall nearby, so was aware disturbances had begun.
In the early hours of August 10 youths were reported throwing bricks at the Aldi store on the Ringway trading estate and a double-glazed window was smashed. Doors at two other premises, Matalan and B&M, were also damaged,
About 15 minutes later the United Carpet shop on Union Street was attacked and windows smashed. A CCTV camera was damaged before the final incident at the Lidl store on Wakefield Road, when bricks hit a window.
Arshad Khalid, for Patrick English, said he regretted his stupid behaviour in mimicking what he saw on television.
The judge commended the police team involved in the investigation.
After the case, Temporary Chief Superintendent David Lunn said: “While the disorder that took place in Huddersfield last August was not on the same scale as other parts of the country, the offences were extremely serious.”
In the months following a dedicated team of officers worked extremely hard to identify and arrest those responsible for the damage, arson and burglaries that were committed.
“Using local intelligence and trawling through hundreds of hours of CCTV footage, we were determined to arrest every single person we suspected of being involved in the crimes that took place,” said Chief Supt Lunn.
“The determined work of the police has led to the sentences handed out by the courts today and we are pleased with the result and with the knowledge that those responsible have been punished for their actions.”