FOUR men have been jailed for their part in violent scenes at an English Defence League protest in Dudley town centre.
The protest on July 17 turned ugly when objects including crowd control barriers were thrown at police officers who were being abused and spat on.
Admitting affray at Wolverhampton Crown Court, Adrian Britton, aged 39, of High View Street, Dudley collapsed in the dock when he was jailed for 15 months, while 27-year old Daniel Holmes of St Matthews Close, Walsall was put behind bars for a year.
Meanwhile teenagers Jake Hill of Alexander Hill, Brierley Hill, aged 18 and 19 year-old James Everard, of Armstrong Close, Amblecote, were both sent to a young offenders institution – Everard for nine months and Hill for six months.
Sentencing the four men, Judge Patrick Thomas QC, said: “This was not an afternoon’s fun.
“It was a dangerous and unpleasant incident involving a mob attack on police officers doing their duty.”
He said it was clear their offending was not linked to the march but towards the officers who were present to protect their fellow citizens from threats and violence.
“I do not think you were particularly concerned with the EDL,” said the judge. “You took it upon yourselves to attack the police in a number of ways.
“You were involved in a significant and highly unpleasant and unnecessary public disorder and you tested the patience, self control and discipline of police officers under a hail of abuse and threats of violence.”
Hugh O’Brien prosecuting said Everard had been aggressive, swearing at police and stamping on metal barriers used to contain the protestors, while Hill, who was carrying a St George’s flag spat at police.
Meanwhile Holmes, was seen throwing missiles at police before doing a chicken dance at officers and Britton was seen to throw a piece of metal fencing.
The judge told the men: “Most of you claim not to have any involvement in the activities of the EDL.
Most of you claim you were part of this gathering simply by chance or by curiosity.”
But it was clear, he stressed, the affray was directed solely towards police officers who were on duty as he concluded: “A drink-fuelled mob is more dangerous than a sober one.”