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A man who made more than 100 nuisance calls to Sussex Police has been convicted.

David Peapell, of Dyke Road in Brighton, made a total of 108 calls to the 101 non-emergency number and sent 56 text messages to an officer between 30 July and 2 September.

This was despite him being issued with a warning letter about his unnecessary number of calls in October 2014.

The 48-year-old, who is unemployed, pleaded guilty to persistently making use of a public electronic communications network for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to employees of Sussex Police when he appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Thursday (3 December).

Contact centre investigator Sarah-Louise Gliddon said: “Mr Peapell has been a persistent caller for a number of years and was given a warning by the local policing team in October 2014 to only make contact with police to report a new incident or an emergency which required police response.

“He ignored the warning and continued to make excessive calls to police on the 101 non-emergency number, and excessively text the police officer who had dealt with him.

“The volume and the frequency of Peapell’s calls impacted the contact centre’s ability to provide a service to the public, who genuinely needed police assistance or attendance whilst he was calling.

“We now actively peruse persistent callers, issuing them with warnings about how their unnecessary contact affects our ability to service other members of the public trying to report police incidents on the 101 number and 999 emergency lines.

“People who contact us persistently will be dealt within the context of an offence of wasting police time and face court if they continue to make unnecessary contact stopping us dealing with the public that do need our assistance.”

Peapell was sentenced to a 12-month community order. He was also fined £40, and ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge, £50 in costs and a £150 criminal court charge.

Juice Brighton

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An abusive neighbour told a woman living in his building that he would “make her disappear”.

David Peapell, 47, of Timor House in Withyham Avenue, Saltdean, threatened Phillipa Davis despite an injunction banning him from doing so.

Peapell was handed a three-month suspended jail sentence for breaking the injunction to protect neighbours from long-running bad relations.

Mrs Davis said: “I was walking through the grounds of Timor House towards the outer hallway door.

“I saw Mr Peapell who began to follow me on foot as I made my way.

“As I reached the door, Mr Peapell shouted out, ‘What are you doing, you like your flat, yeah? Well think long and hard, it won’t be for long when I make you disappear’.”

Speaking at a civil case brought by Hyde Housing Association yesterday, she added: “I noticed he had a very serious look on his face and his eyes in particular were piercing to look at – he was clearly very angry.”

The threat in the afternoon of January 9 came despite the injunction taken out in October by Hyde to protect Mrs Davis and other residents.

Peapell faces a possession hearing – at which Mrs Davis is due to give evidence – over the flat .

He denied having made the threat, telling the court he had not seen Mrs Davis at all that day and suggested she made the allegation as she wanted to be moved herself.

Peapell also produced a receipt showing cigarettes bought in the local Co-Op five minutes away at the time he was meant to have made the remarks.

Defending, Christopher Prior told Brighton Magistrates’ Court: “Basically one party [is] saying I saw him and the other party is saying I did not.

“He has produced a document which shows that, at the very least on face value, when the incident happened according to Mrs Davis, he was four or five minutes away.”

But Judge Simon Coltart believed Mrs Davis and found Peapell had breached the injunction, adding that video footage of Peapell after he was arrested showed him to be “capable of becoming aggressive or abusive in his language”.

He added: “I am completely satisfied so that I am sure that Mrs Davis’s version of events is the correct one.”

He handed Peapell, who was in custody between his arrest on January 9 and the hearing on January 15, a three-month suspended jail sentence.

Brighton Argus

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ON the second anniversary of violent St George’s Day clashes which saw thugs bring Brighton to a standstill, The Argus can reveal some of the main perpetrators have been spared jail.

The March for England clashes cost an estimated £1 million in policing, and it has taken nearly two years for the participants to have their day in court.

But the Argus can reveal that that of the five men and two women who were convicted of violent disorder after trials at Hove Crown Court last month, all were handed suspended sentences.

More than 1,300 officers policed the far-right march, which culminated in shop fronts bring smashed and glasses and chairs hurled between demonstrators and counter-demonstrators in the city centre.

Policing the protest cost more than £500,000 while retired detective Graham Cox estimated at least as much again would have been spent since in court and police time, and questioned the sentences handed down.

He added: “Ultimately we do live in a free country and people should be allowed to demonstrate providing they don’t break the law.

“I don’t think you can put a price on free speech providing they are acting lawfully.

“So I don’t think banning marches is the correct approach and this is the price we have to pay for it.”

He added: “The [suspended] sentences seems on the lenient side to me.

“I know you cannot always send everyone to prison, but I suspect some of the people who have investigated might be a little bit disappointed with how much the courts have backed them up.”

The violence broke out outside the Dorset pub at the corner of Gardner Street and North Lane after the parade had ended on April 28, 2014.

A team of six officers spent three months studying CCTV to identify those involved in the violence, and detectives have travelled the country to make arrests.

Detective Superintendent Carwyn Hughes said: “This was terrifying for those people in the area and we ensured the resources necessary to find those responsible and bring them to justice.

“We will always prosecute where protests become an excuse for a fight.”

Organisers of the far-right March for England said they would not return to Brighton in 2015 and nothing has been announced for this year.

However, one group is organising an event at the Level to celebrate the lack of a March for England, while far-right group Pie and Mash Squad told The Argus it planned to come to the city but refused to say more to “lefty journalists”.

Police are laying on extra resources in case of trouble.

Brighton and Hove chief superintendent Nev Kemp said: “Should we become aware that any group wants to exercise their right to lawful protest, we will of course be happy to liaise with them and the local community to try and facilitate a peaceful protest.”

IT WAS SHOCKING AND WE FELT UNSAFE

THE trouble started almost as soon as the far-right demonstrators got off the train into Brighton on the morning of April 27 two years ago.

Police had taken few chances, moving the parade from the city centre to the seafront and putting 1,325 officers on duty along with horse and dogs.

But shouts of “scum” and worse filled the air as the far-right group of around 200, many swathed in St George’s cross flags, made its way down Queens Road, taunted by counter-demonstrators, many covering their faces with black scarves.

Punching the air and shouting back, the March for England group was tightly controlled by police as it moved on to the seafront with many of the shops around shuttered for the morning and the usual weekend pleasure-seekers out of sight.

Tension ratcheted up as the group went on to the seafront, with flares thrown by some of the hundreds of counter-demonstrators, police horses helping to keep the two sides separate – and bystanders filming the action on their phones.

Yet the parade on the seafront passed off without serious violence and it was only when the marchers started heading back towards the railway station that police had bigger worries.

Groups started filtering off into the city centre, ending up drinking at The Dorset pub in Gardner Street, where the burst of violence that led to two-week trials two years later kicked off.

Witness Alice Johnson had been having a coffee with a friend and remembered: “Some groups from the march were having a drink outside The Dorset and then a group of guys who had their hoods up came from the other direction towards them.

“There was a bit of a stand off and then they were sort of shouting at each other but no one was really taking the first step. I don’t remember who threw something first but they started throwing glasses at each other and then the guys outside the pub started throwing the outdoor furniture.

“Everyone got out of the way and we were behind a dumpster – we could not really get past.

“It was a bit shocking and interesting at first – and then we felt unsafe. People threw chairs and things that caused lots of damage and a few of the shopfronts were smashed. “It was quite shocking for a while.”

As well as the damage to surrounding shops, many traders complained of thousands of pound in lost revenue due to the disruption to the city.

Two police officers were assaulted as people blocked the road to the station along Queens Road and Surrey Street.

They were knocked to the floor and had items thrown at them.

In the years since, there has been a huge police effort to track down those involved in the fighting, with weeks spent sifting through CCTV and officers travelling up and down the country making arrests.

In August of that year a case heard in magistrates court against Richard Kemp, then 39, from Halifax in Yorkshire, was thrown out of court after officers gave different accounts of what he had been doing with a chair. Magistrates said there was no case to answer due to inconsistencies in the evidence.

In between there have been calls from some quarters to have the march banned, although in the end it was the organisers themselves who have so far not held the parade here again.

Many believe they picked Brighton in the first place partly due to the town’s “lefty” reputation and some suggest the shift from the Green council last year may have dampened that attraction.

Witness Ms Johnson said of the latest convictions: “I hope that maybe they have reconsidered their behaviour.”

14 IN COURT IN CONNECTION WITH DISORDER

Fourteen people appeared at Hove Crown Court in two trials charged with violent disorder.

On Wednesday, February 17, six of them were found guilty and on Tuesday, March 21, one more person was found guilty. Seven were found not guilty.

Craig Wells, 34, of Connell Drive, Brighton; Alan Titterton, 50, of Wordsworth Avenue, Sheffield; Lorna Marcham, 31, of Norwich Drive, Brighton; Andrew Gill, 42, of Sixhills Street, Grimsby; Graham Clark, 52, of Belgrave Road, Margate, Kent; and Scott Banks, 21, of Acacia Road, Doncaster, were all given a two-year suspended sentence.

Tracey Parsons, 50, of David Stoddart Gardens, Swindon, was given a one-year suspended sentence.

Gavin Pidwell, 30, of Glynde, Lewes; Michael Woodhouse, 49, of Baden Road, Brighton; Jack Woodhouse, 19, of Baden Road, Brighton; Gareth Cooper, 34, of Burton Avenue, Doncaster; Richard Walker, 47, of Hillside Lane, Henfield; Ian Crossland, 42, of Hollinsend Road, Sheffield; and Stephen Caudwell, 54, of Angleton Close, Sheffield, were all found not guilty.

Brighton Argus