An English Defence League supporter from Rugeley has been banned from all licensed premises after a judge saw a recording of violence after the group he was in was turned away from a pub.
Ross Gilbert was the seventh man to be dealt with at Warwick Crown Court following a clash between EDL supporters and customers at the George Eliot pub in Bridge Street, Nuneaton.
He and the other six had all pleaded guilty to a charge of violent disorder following the incident which took place almost four years ago in February 2011.
Gilbert, aged 28, of William Morris Court, Rugeley, was sentenced to eight months in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC also imposed an exclusion order banning him from all public houses and restaurants where alcohol is served for three months.
He told Gilbert, who was given a football banning order last month because of drunken behaviour at the Hawthorns in December, he had escaped custody ‘by a hair’s breadth.’
Prosecutor Lisa Hancox said a group of EDL supporters, including Gilbert, had been to Luton for a demonstration and had to change trains in Nuneaton on their way back to Staffordshire. Several of them took the opportunity to head into the town centre for a drink, and after going to a kebab shop they headed to the George Eliot.
On the way one of the group was captured by a CCTV camera stopping to put on a cross of St George face mask before they congregated outside the pub where they were refused entry. There was a stand-off during which a drinker came out of the pub and confronted the masked EDL supporter, at which point Gilbert threw a punch at him.
And Judge Lockhart, watching a CCTV recording observed: “He was the first to use physical violence.”
Gilbert, representing himself, said: “I feel ashamed. It was four years ago. I was younger, stupid. I’ve moved on in my life.”