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A man who amassed an arsenal of weapons including explosives, knives and rocket mortars has been jailed for 30 months.

Simon Flint was arrested after a row with youths near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in June in which he pointed a loaded crossbow at them.

He had earlier admitted affray and possessing a prohibited weapon.

Teesside Crown Court heard the 42-year-old, of Meadowfield Drive, Eaglescliffe, had a fixation with weapons.

After his arrest, police searched a camper van in which he was living and found a “significant collection” of weapons, which also included swords, pepper spray and chemicals that could be used to make improvised explosive devices.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, told the court police searched his electronic devices and found videos of him blowing up an apple, a cucumber and a laptop computer.

He told police he thought the effect was “hilarious”, but he understood it may be illegal.

The court heard he told officers he had a fascination with “making things go bang”.

‘Unorthodox interests’

Flint had got into a row with some youths and when a dog walker went to be a peace-maker, the defendant pointed his crossbow at them, Mr Perks said.

Mr Perks said Flint was found to possess a number of stab vests, adding: “I think these acquisitions stem from a skewed sense of his need to defend himself.”

Mark Styles, defending, said: “His unorthodox interests have led to the situation he is now in.

“We have to concede he is certainly eccentric but he is not mentally ill.”

Judge Howard Crowson jailed him for two-and-a-half years, giving Flint credit for his guilty pleas.

Outside court, Gary Fotherill of the Crown Prosecution Service said: “Flint appears to have been motivated by a compulsion to master the technical process of constructing improvised explosive devices and to use these to blow up inanimate objects for his own entertainment.”

BBC News

A MAN has pleaded guilty to a number of charges in connection with the possession of weapons and explosive making equipment.

Simon Flint had a huge collection of weapons, including more than 100 knives, improvised explosive crossbow bolts and a catalogue of components to build his own bombs, including potential pipe bombs.

The 42-year-old was due to stand trial this morning after being charged with seven offences following a police operation in Bishop Auckland on Friday, June 28.

However, this morning he pleaded guilty to three charges – affray and two charges of possession of explosive substances. He had already pleaded guilty to a number of offences at Durham Crown Court.

olyon Perks, prosecuting, said the defendant accepted that he had acquired the parts needed to construct an improvised explosive device.

He added that the defendant used improvised devices to blow up fruit and a laptop computer.

Mr Flint, who has an address at Meadowfield Drive, Eaglescliffe, but is understood to have lived in a campervan for a number of years, was charged with making threats to kill, possession of an explosive substance, two charges of possession of offensive weapons, possession of a weapon for the discharge of pepper spray, two charges of possession of a bladed article in public and a public order offence.

Among the items listed in the charges were three crossbows, a friction locking baton, lock knives and swords including one measuring 2ft long.

The precision engineer is also accused of possession of an explosive black powder, a weapon designed to discharge a noxious gas or liquid – namely pepper spray, and of using abusive, threatening or insulting words or behaviour to cause alarm.

Judge Howard Crowson adjourned the case for sentence and remanded Flint into custody.

He said: “We have admitted your offences and the next stage is sentencing but we will want to that right and it can be a little complicated, this piece of the law, so the lawyers are going to make sure they help me as much as they can and get this right.”

Amy Dalla Mura banned from campaigning in Broxtowe after targeting Soubry over Brexit

Amy Dalla Mura leaving court after being found guilty of harassment and barred from mentioning Anna Soubry in her election campaigning. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

A Brexit supporter who is standing against the remainer Anna Soubry in the general election has been found guilty of harassing her and banned from campaigning in her constituency.

Amy Dalla Mura, 56, targeted Soubry between January and March this year, turning up at events and calling her a traitor on live television, Westminster magistrates court heard.

Soubry and Dalla Mura are standing in Broxtowe in Nottinghamshire, Soubry for the Independent Group for Change and Dalla Mura for the English Democrats.

The court heard that on 23 January Dalla Mura, from Hove, attended an event in parliament where Soubry was speaking and repeatedly interrupted her while live-streaming the event on her phone. The meeting was eventually abandoned when she refused to stop.

Passing verdict, the chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot said Dalla Mura “knew that she had done something wrong and thought that she had got away with it”.

Describing Dalla Mura’s behaviour as “oppressive and unacceptable”, she said her conduct was “driven by anger at Ms Soubry’s political views on Brexit” and she had “caused harassment in the sense of alarm and distress”.

Soubry, a former Conservative minister, became a target for abuse after vocally opposing Brexit. She quit the Conservative party in February over the issue.

Dalla Mura, who refused to give her name and address when asked in court, was ordered to stay away from the Broxtowe constituency as a condition of her bail and told she must conduct her election campaign from elsewhere and over the internet.

The magistrate said she was free to criticise other parties’ policies but must not mention Soubry by name in her electioneering.

There was laughter in the full public gallery when the magistrate asked for a psychiatric report on Dalla Mura be prepared before her sentencing on 16 December, four days after the election.

In addition to the January incident, the court heard that on 14 March Dalla Mura approached Soubry in parliament’s central lobby while she was appearing on the BBC’s Newsnight, calling her a “traitor” while again filming her.

The presenter, Nicholas Watt, said Dalla Mura “looked troubled, very anxious and angry. Anna Soubry looked very alarmed by this very hostile presence.”

A week later Dalla Mura tried to intercept the MP in Westminster, saying she wanted to “have a word”, but did not manage to find her.

The Guardian

William ‘Billy’ Charlton, of Washington, was branded a manipulative bully by a judge as he was locked up for stirring up racial hatred

Unrepentant racist bully Billy Charlton shouted at jurors “I hope your daughters don’t get raped” and gave his supporters the thumbs up as he was jailed for spreading his toxic lies in a series of public speeches.

Vile and manipulative Charlton hid behind the cloak of respectability of wanting to protect women and children from sexual assault but his true intention was to disseminate hate-filled falsehoods about immigrants, Asians, black people and the police.

The 55-year-old, of Byland Court, Glebe, Washington , was convicted on Thursday of five counts of stirring up racial hatred after a series of speeches in Sunderland.

He was brought back to Newcastle Crown Court on Friday to be sentenced and five members of the jury returned to watch the conclusion of the case.

After spending most of the hearing staring intently at them, he shouted the vile comment towards the four women and a man as he was led away to prison and was told by a judge: “Just leave Mr Charlton”.

He then clapped his hands and gave the thumbs up to his supporters in the public gallery, who clapped as he was taken out of the dock to start a 21 month jail sentence.

Judge Edward Bindloss told him: “Over this three-and-a-half week trial you have been revealed as an intelligent, articulate, skilled public speaker but also a manipulator and bully, in my judgement.”

The judge said Charlton had used an allegation of rape, kidnap and drugging by a female – which was investigated and which police found insufficient evidence of – to spread his racist lies.

“You propelled the campaign (for the female) with rhetoric and misrepresentation and, the jury has found, with racist hatred,” Judge Bindloss said.

Charlton had been warned by senior police officers the comments he was making about the female were wrong, counter-productive and doing damage to the community.

Despite the fact more than 80% of sexual offending in Sunderland was committed by white men, the judge said: “In the five speeches, you conflated all immigrants with rapes and sexually offending, thus peddling racist hatred basted around falsehoods.”

The five speeches took place between November 2016 and July 2017 and drew bigger and bigger crowds, forcing hundreds of police officers to be diverted from their usual duties.

At one event, 800 people were present, including 32 Hells Angels.

Judge Bindloss told him: “Time and again you associated immigrants with sexual offending. This is a pernicious form of racial hatred.”

The judge said freedom of speech is a “fundamental freedom” and told him Charlton: “This is not about politics, it’s about the law. I’ve sought to keep the law and politics separate.

“You are not on trial for your political views or being a member of any party.

“Even your anti-imimigration views, you are entitled to hold.

“The jury has found your speeches were intended to or likely to stir up racial hatred.

“The speeches contributed to a toxic atmosphere by you stirring up racial hatred.”

The court heard that while Charlton was not responsible for them, a number of race-hate incidents were happening in Sunderland around the time of the speeches.

An Asian family had a brick thrown through their window with a note attached containing racist abuse and signed “EDL forever”.

Racist graffiti also appeared and a man was arrested wearing a T-shirt with an anti-Muslim T-shirt slogan.

The court heard Charlton had a previous conviction from 2007 for racially aggravated harassment, for which he was fined.

During his trial, jurors were told about footage from a “white man march” on Newcastle Quayside at which Charlton spoke.

The footage showed other people chanting things such as “white power”, “Hitler was right” “sieg heil” and “keep it white”, the court heard.

At one of the events, Charlton appeared alongside far right extremist Tommy Robinson.

Charlton also made sickening references to the Grenfell Tower fire – saying “it’s not cheap cladding that raped (a female)” and adding it’s “immigrants who are a threat to our children”.

Glenn Gatland, defending, said Charlton had what he considered to be genuine concerns and frustrations which had “boiled over into what can only be described by the jury as racism” and had “overstepped the mark”.

Mr Gatland added: “It’s not a case like Abu Hamza where people are preaching outright hatred on the grounds of racism.

“It starts with a genuine complaint and concern. There are genuine concerns about what he perceives to be a cover up by the police, rightly or wrongly.”

Mr Gatland added that Charlton is “not in particularly good health”, had to give up work because of problems with his knees and will find prison difficult.

He added: “He is extremely upset his 92-year-old mother is not very well, she will not be able to visit him.”

After the case, Chief Inspector Sam Rennison, of Northumbria Police, said Charlton’s actions were an attempt to fuel “hatred and unrest” in the city.

“Freedom of speech is an important element of modern society which we all advocate, but spreading hate and racism is totally unacceptable,” Ch Insp Rennison said.

“Billy Charlton attempted to disguise his racist agenda under a cloak of respectability by claiming to want to protect the women of Sunderland.

“He knowingly targeted a number of ethnic groups and immigrants at high-profile marches in the city centre, and in doing so, stirred up hatred.

“He then pushed that personal agenda further by circulating misinformation on social media for his own gain.

“However, today his calculated behaviour and attempts to spread hatred and unrest in our community have been laid bare.

“We must do all we can to stamp out racism and the spreading of hate. As a Force, we are committed to tackling all forms of extremism which has the potential to threaten the safety and security of the public.

“I am glad that the jury understood and recognised the seriousness of Charlton’s crimes, and he must now deal with the consequences of his actions.”

The Chronicle

William ‘Billy’ Charlton, of Washington, pretended to be wanting to protect women but his true intention was to spread race hate

A vile protester is behind bars after he was convicted of stirring up racial hatred with poisonous lies during a series of public speeches.

William “Billy” Charlton, who spoke alongside far right extremist Tommy Robinson, hid behind the cloak of respectability of wanting to protect women from sexual assault.

But his true intention was to disseminate hate-filled falsehoods about immigrants, Asians, black people and the police, a court heard.

Prosecutors said his words sparked incidents of violence and damage by others attending the marches, including an occasion in which two innocent Asian men were attacked by a group of white men.

During his trial, jurors were told about footage from a “white man march” on Newcastle Quayside at which Charlton spoke.

The footage showed other people chanting things such as “white power”, “Hitler was right” “sieg heil” and “keep it white”, the court heard.

Charlton, 55, of Byland Court, Glebe, Washington , also made sickening references to the Grenfell Tower fire – saying “it’s not cheap cladding that raped (a female)” and adding it’s “immigrants who are a threat to our children”.

He was found guilty of five charges of stirring up racial hatred and faces a prison sentence.

He was remanded in custody ahead of being sentenced on Friday – despite pleading that he had a dog at home on its own.

During the trial, Sharon Beattie, prosecuting, told jurors about a number of speeches Charlton gave around the theme of the protection of women from sexual assault.

She said: “This was his cause and his motivation, as he described it, to protect women in Sunderland from rape and sexual violence.

“No one, one would hope, would argue against that but in reality, say the prosecution, this was an excuse because Mr Charlton is an intelligent man and a good speaker and this supposed cause was hiding his true intention under a cloak of respectability.

“His true intentions, say the prosecution, were to stir people up against immigrants, Asians, black people and the police.”

Miss Beattie said jurors would have to consider the issue of free speech but added that it is not free speech if it is an offence.

She told the jury: “Mr Charlton is not prosecuted for speaking in public, he is being prosecuted for using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, intending to stir up racial hatred.”

The court heard that following some of the speeches, there were incidents of graffiti and property being damaged. One property was attack where it was believed a rapist lived but in fact others lived there.

In another incident, an Asian man who happened to live in a particular area, was attacked and when his nephew came to help him, he was also beaten up, the court heard.

Miss Beattie said: “This violence was from people who had been listening to the speech and were involved in a march which preceded it.”

The prosecutor said when one woman attended a demonstration with a placard saying “rape doesn’t have a race”, she had to be escorted away by police for her own protection because of the reaction of the crowd.

Charlton is said to have posted a picture of her on Facebook calling her an idiot.

Miss Beattie said the five charges “arise out of a series of speeches by Billy Charlton” which were streamed on Facebook and picked up by Rebel Media, “used by or linked to Tommy Robinson”.

The jury were told about one march in Sunderland , organised after allegations surfaced about three Turkish men, during which Charlton is alleged to have said: “Standing in Sunderland city centre feels like I’m in Bangladesh” and made reference to “imported rapists”.

In another speech he said “these people who are guests in my town raping and drugging our women, they are monsters, there’s something wrong in this town”.

The court heard Charlton denied being racist but, Miss Beattie said: “He said he doesn’t care about the colour of anyone’s skin but he doesn’t address any other issue other than immigrants.

“85% of people arrested for sexual offences are white in Sunderland – he doesn’t address that either.”

Charlton is also said to have criticised Northumbria Police, saying at one march, in reference to the force’s slogan “proud to protect”: “Proud to protect. Not your children, they are not. Not my children they are not. Who are they protecting?” The crowd responded: “Immigrants.”

Prosecutors say his verbal attacks on the police were designed to tell people the police couldn’t protect them so they had to protect themselves.

Referring to a Facebook post about an allegation made by a woman, Miss Beattie told jurors: “The prosecution say Mr Charlton was not genuinely motivated by concern in relation to these women, he was motivated by an agenda relating to immigrants.

“He was stirring up racial hatred.”

At another march, he is said to have told the crowd his and their children and women “deserve protection from these immigrants”, the court heard.

The court heard about comments Charlton is said to have made to a police superintendent, a month after the Grenfell fire, saying it was “not cheap cladding that raped (a female)”, adding “it’s immigrants who are a threat to our children.”

Miss Beattie said in May 2017, a young student in Sunderland city centre witnessed Charlton abusing Asian people, saying: “Get out of my Sunderland, get out, this is my country.”

The prosecutor told the jury: “There was no suggestion they were committing sexual offences so why would he be shouting at these two males.

“That, say the prosecution, is his real agenda.”

The Chronicle

A police officer whose team helped convict a man of inciting racial hatred during Sunderland city centre demos has said his actions were “totally unacceptable.”


William Charlton, 55, known as Billy, spoke at a number of public rallies between November 2016 and July 2017 after a woman reported she had been raped in the city.

Northumbria Police say that attempting to disguise his personal agenda under a “cloak of respectability”, Charlton used the demonstrations to attack ethnic minority groups and immigrants with racial slurs and insults.

Charlton denied five charges of inciting racial hatred but was today, Thursday, September 26, found guilty of all offences by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Chief Inspector Sam Rennison said Charlton’s actions were an attempt to fuel “hatred and unrest” in the city.

“Freedom of speech is an important element of modern society which we all advocate, but spreading hate and racism is totally unacceptable,” Ch Insp Rennison said.

“Billy Charlton attempted to disguise his racist agenda under a cloak of respectability by claiming to want to protect the women of Sunderland.

“He knowingly targeted a number of ethnic groups and immigrants at high-profile marches in the city centre, and in doing so, stirred up hatred.

“He then pushed that personal agenda further by circulating misinformation on social media for his own gain.

“However, today his calculated behaviour and attempts to spread hatred and unrest in our community have been laid bare.

“We must do all we can to stamp out racism and the spreading of hate.

“As a force, we are committed to tackling all forms of extremism which has the potential to threaten the safety and security of the public.

“I am glad that the jury understood and recognised the seriousness of Charlton’s crimes, and he must now deal with the consequences of his actions.”

Charlton, of Byland Court, Washington, insisted throughout the three-week trial that he did not intend to stir up hate and is not racist.

He was remanded in custody following his conviction and is due to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court tomorrow morning, Friday, September 27.

Sunderland Echo

A paedophile from Luton has been jailed for two years and eight months after downloading thousands of indecent images of children.

Carl Tofts, 27, of Harcourt Street, was handed a 32-month prison term at Luton Crown Court on Monday after being convicted of possessing over 2,500 images of children being abused.

Police raided Tofts’ home in June 2016 after receiving intelligence that someone at that address was accessing indecent images of children via the internet.

Tofts was arrested and subsequently released on bail, while officers seized his devices to download and investigate the content.

He was arrested again in January 2017 by Norfolk Police for similar offences and, in November 2018, he was charged with making and distributing indecent images of children and possession of extreme images.

More than 2,500 images and videos ranging from the most serious category A to category C were found on his devices.

Investigating Officer Michela Zasada said: “Owing to a number of obstacles, it has taken us three years to bring Tofts to justice.

“I am pleased that he has received a custodial sentence for his despicable crimes against children.

“Viewing and possessing indecent images of children is by no means a victimless crime. It causes and propagates real harm to the children concerned, as they are abused and exploited in such a vile and appalling way, and people like Tofts share this disgusting abuse online for other individuals to view.

“We are dedicated to tackling offences of this nature, and hope that the custodial sentence Tofts has received today sends a strong message to others who seek gratification by abusing children in this way.”

In addition to the prison term, Tofts also received an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order, with conditions he must follow on his release from prison.

Parents can visit the Parents Protect website, which is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, for lots of useful resources to help prevent online child sexual abuse. It also contains a list of organisations and resources focusing on keeping children safe in the digital world.

The NSPCC Share Aware website also contains advice and tips about how children can keep themselves safe online.

Luton Today

Michael Westwood was filmed hurling abhorrent abuse at police officer Sam.

The sentence given to a racist who hurled vile abuse at a black police officer has been branded “pathetic” after the shocking incident was shown on last night’s episode of Call the Cops.

Viewers were given a glimpse of the abuse suffered by police officers working on the front line in the third episode of the Channel 4 show.

Officers Sam and Josh were filmed responding to a hostile incident involving a couple at an address in Plymouth.

Viewers watched in horror as Michael Westwood made repetitive references to the colour of Sam’s skin, along with references to an Islamaphobic organisation during a prolonged verbal attack.

Westwood was arrested for a racially aggravated public order offence.

The footage left viewers reeling in anger.

Following the show, Devon and Cornwall Police revealed the sentence handed to Westwood, who failed to turn up to his sentencing hearing.

In a tweet the force said: “For those who watched episode three of #CallTheCops, Michael Westwood was charged and pled guilty to a racially aggravated public order offence.

“He didn’t appear at the hearing which took place at Plymouth Magistrates’ Court in August,

“In his absence Westwood was fined £350 plus costs of £85 to go to the CPS and a surcharge of £35.

“Victim compensation was set at £50.

“Unacceptable

Viewers were quick to hit out at the sentence, branding it “pathetic”, “disgraceful” and “shameful”.

One said: “And this is why criminals don’t give a toss, no consequences. That guy made me, just a normal white guy, feel ashamed of my so called fellow race.”

Another added: “Is that it?! So he probably doesn’t have a job and WE will end up paying it. Not a deterrent at all that is it?! Sad times.”

Many felt the offence justified a prison sentence.

One person tweeted: “That is a shameful. That guy deserved jail time.”

While a second viewer wrote: “Should have been jailed for at least 5 yrs…no wonder crime is rife….no punishment!”

There was also widespread support and praise for Sam, who revealed the force had offered to take him off the front line in order to protect him for abuse.

Sam’s experience

Speaking about the racial abuse he has received throughout his career, Sam said: “In all seriousness, I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve been racially abused.

“Peoples attitude towards race had on the whole got better, with the exception of three years ago when the political world started to change.”

Sam went on to admit that the force gave him the option of leaving the front line, in an attempt to stop the racial abuse.

“In 2016 the force legal team, their concern was my welfare,” he said.

“They wanted to know whether I wanted to remain as a response office or whether I wanted to be removed from the front line to save myself being racially abused.

“My response to that was I joined the police to be a response officer and work on the front line. If someone racially abuses me because of the colour of my skin, I’m not the one who has the problem, they’re the ones that have the problem.

“They’re the ones that are going to have to learn that black police officers, male or female reflect the society we live in and we make society safe.

“That was the message I wanted our senior management to be aware of.”

Plymouth Herald

A yob who made headlines when he ripped a woman’s niqab from her face in Sunderland has been jailed after attacking a former female friend with a hammer.

Peter Scotter, 58, hit the woman on the head with the tool in a pub in Sunderland, causing a 5.5cm laceration to the top of her head after she spurned his advances.

At the time of the attack Scotter was on licence for racially aggravated common assault after he tore a headscarf from a Muslim woman in The Bridges shopping centre.

Scotter had told his victim, “you’re in our country now, get out”, and, “our Britain, you live by our rules”, as racial tension in the country ran high in the days after Britain voted to leave the EU.

He was jailed for 15 months before being released on licence.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how at around 10pm on September 3 last year Scotter entered The Charltons pub in Sunderland.

Harry Hadfield, prosecuting, told the court the victim regarded him as a friend until he asked her to be his girlfriend, after which she avoided him.

Mr Hadfield said: “She was standing at the bar and recalls the defendant spoke to her.

“What she felt was a painful blow to the top of her head and when she looked up what she saw was the defendant with a hammer in his hand.

“She was struck with a hammer, one blow, when they were face to face.”

Scotter was then escorted out by other people in the pub.

Mr Hadfield told the court that in her victim impact statement the woman had said she had done absolutely nothing to deserve the attack, felt he could have “killed her” and was now anxious to leave her home.

On July 3 2016 Scotter, who at the time had 70 previous convictions, had approached a 29-year-old Muslim woman while she waited for her husband outside a shop.

He then reached out and pulled her niqab veil from her head and threw it on the ground – exposing her face to the public.

The court heard how Scotter shouted, “take that off, you stupid Muslim”, along with other racist slurs and the victim was left exposed and scared by what happened to her.

In relation to the most recent case Anthony Hawks, defending, said: “It is important that the events be looked at against the background.

“The background is that despite what the complainant says, it is she who wanted to have a relationship with the defendant who is married. He declined that.”

Mr Hawks said that Scotter said she had begun a campaign, including posts on social media against him, which lead him to believe that she was responsible for intimidating his mother.

He told the court: “That’s what caused the red mist to descend and for him to behave in the way he did.

“Nothing can justify what the defendant did, it was a cowardly and disgraceful thing to do and the defendant knows that.”

He added that Scotter is working and has stayed out of trouble for the last year since the incident.

Scotter pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and having an offensive weapon at an earlier hearing.

Mr Recorder Andrew Dallas sentenced Scotter, of Hendon Close, Sunderland, to 12-months imprisonment and said: “This was an extremely serious incident.

“It was not spontaneous, it was premeditated.

“You have an appalling record, especially for violence.”

Mr Recorder Dallas also put a five-year restraining order in place, preventing him from contacting the victim and ordered Scotter to pay a victim surcharge.`

Sunderland Echo

Colin Dodds, left, and Alan Dent, right, who have today been convicted of causing criminal damage to MP Helen Goodman’s office window

TWO men “deliberately targeted” the office of Helen Goodman MP in a politically motivated attack by throwing bricks through the windows, a judge has said.

Colin Dodds and Alan Dent have today been jailed after they were convicted of causing criminal damage to the Bishop Auckland MP’s office.

District Judge Helen Cousins has sentenced Dent to eight weeks and Dodds to 12 weeks in custody.

This morning, Dent, 50, of Co-operative Street, Shildon, admitted a charge of causing criminal damage after losing his temper and throwing a brick through a window.

And Dodds, 44, of Douthwaite Road, Bishop Auckland, denied the charge, but he has been found guilty of the offence.

The judge said the pair had deliberately targeted the MP’s office.

She said: “I saw two men walking down the street in a determined way with bricks in their hands and low and behold windows were then smashed.

“I have no hesitation in finding that it was deliberate – there can be no other reason than it being politically motivated for them to chose that building. This was a targeted attack on a sitting MP’s office.”

Teesside Magistrates Court heard how the pair had been supporters of far-right organisations, including the English Defence League (EDL) and had been subject to police surveillance while taking part in Anti-Islamic protest marches across the region.

Dent had told the court that he was ‘fully’ responsible for the damage but denied it was politically motivated maintaining that he lost his temper after spending the day drinking in Bishop Auckland town centre.

He said he was angry after seeing his ex-partner in town and got into an argument with a friend before picking up the bricks and threatening to ‘smash his head in’.

Dent told the court that his co-accused grabbed a brick out of his hand to stop him attacking their friend.

Under cross examination from Ann Mitchell, prosecuting, Dent said: “When I found out he (Dodds) had been arrested, I wanted to come to prove my guilt and prove Colin’s innocence.

“He stopped me doing something worse when he took a brick off me.”

She asked Dent whether he came to court to plead guilty and keep Colin Dodds out of trouble, he said: “It definitely wasn’t a planned attack, I was in my best clothes, it was broad daylight and I was drunk.

“He had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

Two windows at Ms Goodman’s constituency office on Cockton Hill Road, Bishop Auckland, were broken after being hit with house bricks on the evening of Saturday, April 6.

Dodds denied the attack was related to Ms Goodman’s stance on Brexit. He said: “I had no prior knowledge of it before it happened; it wasn’t planned and I had nothing to do with it.”

Under cross examination, Dodds vehemently denied hurling a brick through the window and maintained they were walking to his home on the Woodhouse Close estate.

Northern Echo