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A fence who sold thousands of pounds of stolen car stereos on the internet has been jailed for 30 months

A fence who sold thousands of pounds of stolen car stereos on the internet has been jailed for 30 months.

Alan Spence, 37, was a key outlet for thieves targeting vehicles in Tyneside, helping bring misery to scores of motorists.

Spence, who started as a legitimate second hand dealer, stashed the hi-fis at his home and a room he used in another house.

And he even set up his own internet site to trade the hot hi-fis at up to £100 a time, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Jailing him, Judge Tim Hewitt, said: “It’s clear you were the centre of a conspiracy whereby thieves of car audio systems would come to you to dispose of their ill-gotten gains. It was really on quite a large scale. I conclude very substantial amounts of property passed through your hands.”

Spence, of Dawcett Road, Newcastle, admitted conspiracy to handle stolen goods between December 2000 and January last year.

Police recovered an estimated £30,000 of stolen stereos in twin raids. They found 105 hi-fis and other pieces of audio equipment during a search of Spence’s home in April last year.

Another 45 stereos and 21 fascias were recovered from a room he had rented in a house in the city’s West End.

Mark Styles, defending, said: “This is not a case of him sending people out to commit crime.

“He drifted into the commission of this initially having come into contact with people through his legitimate business as a second hand dealer.”

The Chronicle

From May 2004

Opposing factions hurled missiles and caused up to £25,000 of damage to St George’s Hall left daubed with Nazi swastikas

Right-wing activists involved in violent clashes between neo-Nazis and anti-fascists outside Lime Street Station have been jailed.

A woman was left scarred for life, a man suffered a broken nose and a police officer was knocked unconscious in ugly scenes last year.

Liverpool Crown Court heard opposing factions hurled missiles and caused up to £25,000 of damage to the historic St George’s Hall.

Nazi swastikas were daubed on walls, cobble stones were torn up from the building’s plateau and a Victorian statue was damaged.

Shane Calvert, Wayne Bell and Brian Stamp today appeared in court, alongside allies Nikki Prescott and Alan Raine. Calvert admitted conspiracy to commit violent disorder, while Bell was convicted after a trial. Prescott, Raine and Stamp admitted affray.

Bell liaised with Merseyside Police to organise “The White Man March” for now-banned fascist terrorist group National Action on August 15, 2015.The event, in Liverpool, ended in “humiliating failure” for the far right, after they were met by a much larger group of counter-protesters.

Simon Driver, prosecuting, said the fascists “were forced to take refuge in a left-luggage facility” before police escorted them to trains. Stung by the embarrassment, another far right group, the North West Infidels, headed to Liverpool on February 27, 2016.

Police were not informed and organiser Calvert deliberately changed the location of the “anti-immigration demonstration” from Manchester to Liverpool.

Brian Stamp, 34, from South Shields, jailed for 16 months after admitting affray

Brian Stamp, 34, from South Shields, jailed for 16 months after admitting affray

Fascists were again met by police and counter-protesters but had enlisted a group of Polish men called the “Polish Hooligans”. One cluster of far right-supporters congregated at the Crown Pub, including Stamp, Prescott and Raine, at around 11.30am.

A second group, including Calvert and Bell, gathered on the steps of St George’s Hall, as trouble flared at around 1.30pm.

Mr Driver said: “They displayed North West Infidels banners and neo-Nazi flags. They made gestures, which included the Nazi style ‘sieg heil’ salutes.”

CCTV showed the stand-off, with rival factions separated by riot police, who held the first group at the pub and escorted them away. Smoke canisters and fireworks were thrown and, at 2.30pm, the group near the hall were joined by the Poles.

Wayne Bell, 37, from Castleford, jailed for two and a half years after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder

Wayne Bell, 37, from Castleford, jailed for two and a half years after being found guilty of conspiracy to commit violent disorder

They wore black hoodies emblazoned with “Polska Hooligans” and badges showing a person being kicked, captioned “good night left side”.

Police came under attack from both sides with industrial fireworks, flares, bottles, cobble stones and eggs. Mr Driver said: “A police inspector was knocked unconscious by a missile and a police constable suffered a broken wrist.”

A young female bystander suffered a facial gash requiring plastic surgery and a man suffered a cut and broken nose. People attending an antiques fair within the hall had to be locked in for their own safety.

A 75-year-old black woman who emerged was racially abused and struck in the forehead by a stone. Police eventually encircled the fascists and marched them to the station.

Shane Calvert, 36, from Blackburn, jailed for two years after admitting conspiracy to commit violent disorder

Shane Calvert, 36, from Blackburn, jailed for two years after admitting conspiracy to commit violent disorder

Mr Driver said Calvert wished to “avenge” the previous defeat, as shown in text messages to a man called Garron Helm. He and Bell, who bragged of punching left-wing activists “like that game whack attack”, recruited the Poles.

They exchanged messages talking of “payback time for Liverpool” and Bell spoke of “the local n***** population”.

Stamp boasted of buying “bad boy” gloves with reinforced knuckle-pads, which he was filmed wearing. Raine was recorded threatening “I’ll bite your f***ing face off” and Prescott yelling “come on then, let’s f***ing have it”.

Judge Menary imposed criminal behaviour orders, banning the five men from entering Liverpool for five years, for their “planned hooliganism”.

Billy Duggan, from Duggan & Parr Stone Repair Ltd, surveying the graffiti on St George's Hall

Billy Duggan, from Duggan & Parr Stone Repair Ltd, surveying the graffiti on St George’s Hall

He said: “There will, I have no doubt, be those on both sides of this political divide who are motivated by a desire to promote genuinely-held ideological beliefs – however repugnant or deeply offensive those views might appear to others.

“But I am equally sure that many of the people involved in the disorder on these occasions have made the journey or have involved themselves for no reason other than to behave like hooligans.”

Judge Menary jailed Calvert, 36, from Blackburn, for two years and Stamp, 34, from South Shields, who “came to Liverpool prepared for a fight” for 16 months.

He jailed Bell, 37, from Castleford, for two and a half years, telling him: “Your attitude towards other groups was deeply offensive, racist and you celebrated violent confrontation.”

Unemployed Raine, 41, from Sunderland, and doorman Prescott, 43, from Blackburn, each received 16 months in jail, suspended for two years.

Raine received a 25-day rehabilitation activity, 200 hours of unpaid work and a four-month home curfew, from 8pm to 6am. Prescott must complete a 30-day rehabilitation activity, 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 compensation.

Liverpool Echo

Dean Thompson, left, and Jamie Welsh have each been jailed for three years.

Dean Thompson, left, and Jamie Welsh have each been jailed for three years.

A pair of robbers who knocked a drunk man to the ground and kicked him in the head have been jailed for three years.

The victim had been enjoying a night out in Newcastle city centre when he started talking to Jamie Welsh and Dean Thompson.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how the pair followed him along the street and grabbed him with such force that he fell to the ground.

While on the floor he was aware his rucksack was being pulled from him by Welsh, 18, and Thompson, 21.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, told the court: “Both defendants started to kick him to his head and stand on him.

“He raised his arms to try and protect himself, he felt there was blood running down his face.”

The victim, who lost possessions including a gold iPhone and his wallet and bank cards, managed to get away and went to a bar for assistance.

Tthe items taken from the victim were recovered from the defendants after the attack in August.

Welsh, formerly of Tyneside Foyer, Newcastle, and Thompson, of Westgate Road, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to robbery.

While on bail, Welsh broke into the empty home of a woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and stole an ashtray containing money from a car.

He admitted burglary, theft and criminal damage in connection with those offences.

Barry Robson, defending Welsh, said he’d had to leave home due to his drug taking and had been living on the streets after being asked to leave the Tyneside Foyer.

In relation to the robbery, Mr Robson said: “We are dealing with someone who is 18 and has been coming before the courts since March 2015.

“The situation has gradually got worse.”

Paul Currer, defending Thompson, said: “He’s a young man, he has a learning disability and has problems with his mental health.

“He doesn’t seek to blame others, he’s a very immature 21-year-old, but he understands the seriousness of the offence.”

Recorder William Lowe QC told the pair: “A young man was making his way home after a night out in Newcastle, he had a lot to drink and admitted he was drunk. He was therefore vulnerable.

“He had on his back a rucksack, and a wallet containing credit cards, when he was set upon by these two men.

“He was set to the ground with considerable force. When he was on the ground he was stamped on by these two.

“CCTV was able to capture these two young men and their victim. They were arrested very close to the scene of the offence of robbery.

“They had the items that had been stolen from their victim including the credit cards from his wallet.

“This was in my view a serious offence of robbery.”

Recorder Lowe QC sentenced both Welsh and Thompson to three years in prison.

Sunderland Echo

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Darren Brindley sparked a mass brawl by headbutting an Everton fan and arming himself with a crutch at a pub near St James’ Park

Darren Brindley

A notorious hooligan has been jailed and banned from going anywhere near football matches after fighting with rival fans in a pub close to St James’ Park.

Darren Brindley headbutted an Everton fan then armed himself with a crutch as an ugly brawl blew up on Boxing Day.

A court heard the 44-year-old has a long list of previous convictions for violence and has been banned from attending sporting events in the past.

He went to the Black Bull, on Barrack Road, as Newcastle lost 1-0 to Everton on December 26.

Newcastle Crown Court heard he got into an altercation with an Everton fan who was in the pub having been kicked out of St James’ Park.

Brindley, who claimed he was called a “Geordie b******”, headbutted the man, sparking a fight with other fans of the Merseyside club.

The violence then spilled outside and Brindley armed himself with a crutch belonging to an Everton fan, which he swung around violently.

Now he has been jailed for more than two years after admitting affray and he was also given a six year football banning order.

Recorder Jo Kidd, at Newcastle Crown Court, told him: “The complainant approached you, extended an arm around your waist and your immediate reaction to that was disproportionate, aggressive and violent, for you immediately turned and launched into headbutting him, an act of extreme aggression.

“Thereafter and perhaps unsurprisingly the other people who were his friends then began to fight with you.

“At some point between being in the bar and getting on to the street you took a crutch from another man in the pub.

“You decided to go into a public street armed with that in a heightened state of aggression and then launch an attack with that item on the people outside.

“That behaviour was not you acting in self defence, it was wholly out of hand and unnecessary.

“It’s clear you were not content to stay in the doorway, you pursued a number of those men across the road, still holding the crutch and you were brandishing it about.

“Whatever part the other supporters played, that presented to members of the public a scene of out of control violence that would have been terrifying to anybody in that location.

“Members of the public are entitled to be able to attend football matches without having to come across such acts of aggression and public disorder.

“You caused the public concern and terror, it was a large scale public disturbance.

“Your list of previous convictions makes unhappy reading and demonstrates a long and extensive record of violence and public disorder, including public disorder within the context of sporting events.”

The court heard Brindley, of Bolingbroke Street, Heaton, Newcastle, went to the Black Bull around 7pm on Boxing Day.

He had already had around six pints and said he was there to meet his cousin.

As he passed one of the Everton fans, there was an exchange in which Brindley claims he was called a “Geordie b******”.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch said: “The man continued in conversation with the defendant and had his arm around Mr Brindley’s back.

“At that point the defendant instigates the violence by the use of a headbutt.

“There is then a fight and Mr Brindley fell back on to some benches and the complainant was thrown out of the pub.”

Brindley went outside to square up to the man then came back in.

Mr Bunch said: “He returned back to the premises and took a crutch belonging to one of the Everton fans and came out and was brandishing it about.

“There was a brawl and he was swinging the crutch.”

Police then arrived on the scene and found Brindley injured but he claimed he had fallen over and refused to go to hospital.

Mr Bunch said: “The defendant was identified from CCTV.

“He is well known to officers employed as spotters in the football disorder unit and he was recognised from the footage.”

When he was arrested a month later he said “You mean when I was assaulted”.

He told police he had been out drinking and said comments had been made to him by the Everton supporters which made him feel threatened.

Brindley, who has 71 previous convictions, admitted affray and was jailed for 26 months and was given the football banning order.

Geoff Smith, defending, said: “There was a football match going on but he was going to the Black Bull near St James’ Park to see his cousin.

“There was more than one violent person in that pub that evening.

“He didn’t go there to become involved in violence. Mr Brindley’s instructions are he entered the pub with the best will in the world to see family members and he was called a Geordie b****** by the complainant. He was being abused and felt threatened.

“He was waving the crutch around at a large number of men from the Merseyside area but it was used in a defensive manner and no-one suffered injury as a consequence.

“His record doesn’t relate to football violence for the last ten years.

“He has two children with his partner and the most difficult part of what has happened to him is being separated from his partner, children and grandchild.”

Newcastle Chronicle

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Cowen

HATE filled Nazi nut Michael Cowen strutted the streets as a tattooed hardman…

But today the Sunday Sun exposes him as nothing but a vile paedophile.

A worshipper of Hitler and the far right, the hulking 43-year-old strutted around as a henchman for extreme organisations.

His North home was a sickening shrine to the Nazis with displays of Swastikas, an SS flag and even a cannister of Zyklon B – the cyanide gas used to kill millions.

But behind this swaggering macho image hid his other horribly twisted obsession – a hateful passion for the abuse of little boys and girls.

For Cowen had a horrifying picture library of tens of thousands of indecent images of youngsters stored on his computers.

The secret stash of shame was discovered after he ordered extremist CDs by racist “Blood and Honour” rock groups.

Undercover officers intercepted them on their way to Cowen’s home in Losh Terrace, Walker in Newcastle’s East End.

The disks included bands with names like Ethnic Cleansing and Hate Crime, and featured tracks such as “Freezer Full of ****** Heads”, “Multicultural Take Over” and “Make Them Die Slowly”.

Also in the stash were CD sleeves, with pictures of human remains, beaten and battered bodies, and people who appeared to have been shot, as well as swastikas.

Accepting the delivery on December 7, 2009, Cowen asked the undercover officer about sending the packages on to Germany.

Shortly afterwards, police with a warrant searched his home and seized the CDs. They also found 11,000 MP3 tracks on his computer of similar songs, and the Nazi memorabilia.

But chillingly, they also uncovered thousands of child porn images on Cowen’s computer, hard drive, USB sticks and memory card, mainly of young boys.

The 17,058 pictures and 215 videos featured boys as young as six and included images classed as level five – the most serious level.

Investigations revealed during 2009, Cowen used filesharing software and a social network sites to contact other perverts and up and download images of children, including some he made himself.

Dubbing himself “Spaceapple” or “Derek” he offered to swap pictures and videos and discussed sinister fantasies including “snuffing out” boys – killing them in a sexual way and filming it.

He uploaded a total of 626 indecent images and seven videos.

In interviews with police, Cowen – who has a tattoo of the number 88, which represents the alphabet placing of HH for Heil Hitler – said he was a National Front member and enjoyed the music of white supremacist bands.

He described himself as a “white nation soldier” and said a friend in Germany had asked him to order the CDs, which he planned to send on.

At first he denied the child porn charges – even accusing one of his victims of downloading the images.

But he was caught out by one of the pictures, where he was visible as the photographer, reflected in a mirror.

At Newcastle Crown Court, Cowen admitted possessing racially inflammatory audio recordings and written material, 13 counts of making and four counts of possessing indecent images of children between November and December 2009, and 11 counts of distributing indecent images of children in April 2009.

Defending, Mark Saunders said Cowen was “socially isolated” and had been involved in the far right movement since he was at school.

Judge Paul Sloan QC told him: “You have a long involvement with extreme right-wing and neo Nazi groups. You have admitted acting as a henchman for a group.

“The racially inflammatory CDs and written material which were delivered to your home address are of a particularly vile and offensive nature.

“The indecent images were of young children aged six years old and up, and predominantly of boys. It is clear that some of the victims were being subjected to truly awful sexual abuse. These offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence is justified.”

Cowen was jailed for 12 months for the racist material and three years for the child porn charges, to run consecutively making a total of four years behind bars.

After the hearing Det Chief Insp Dave Anderson, said: “There is no place for such extreme views which spread hatred in our communities and we’ll continue to investigate and prosecute anyone involved in such activity in an effort to bring them to justice.”

And Det Sgt Chris Wilson, added: “During the execution of a search warrant at Cowen’s house computer equipment was seized and analysed which uncovered child pornography offences. He was subsequently charged with making, possessing and distributing indecent images of children after thousands of images and videos were recovered.

“Offending of this nature is taken very seriously and I’m pleased such a dangerous man as Cowen has been jailed for his crimes.”

NEIGHBOURS described Cowen as a loner who tended to keep himself to himself.

But they were shocked to discover what went on behind the closed curtains of his terraced home.

Meanwhile, relatives of the 43-year-old said they have totally disowned him because of the shame he has brought on their family.

“The police were here for about three days when they came to arrest him,” said Nicola Farrier-Carr, who lives just a few doors away from where the pervert lurked.

“At first people though it was for racism – he tried to play it down, he was being targeted. But then my sister was warned by social services to keep away from him, and we realised it was something much worse. I stopped letting my kids play anywhere out of my sight.”

The 24-year-old mum, who has a two-year-old son and four-year-old daughter, added: “We very rarely saw him – you might see him going to the shop or something but that was about it. He was quiet and kept to himself.”

Now, all that remains to hint at the sinister goings-on within Cowen’s modest end-of-terrace house is a solitary St George’s flag sticker in a window.

But the emotional impact will last much longer. Much of Cowen’s family has already disowned him.

“We are totally shocked and disgusted,” said one family member, who the Sunday Sun agreed not to name. “We had no idea what he was like, he lied to us all about it, and we all feel so angry.

“He has never apologised to anyone about what he did. Prison is the best place for him.”

Newcastle Chronicle

Three men have been sentenced after starting a brawl in a branch of Tesco’s.

Connor McIntosh, 21, Daniel Gray, 25, and Lee Forster, 25, were all charged with affray after an altercation with two employees at Tesco’s on Newcastle Road in Sunderland.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that the three men had been shopping at the supermarket on October 25 last year with McIntosh being asked to leave the store after being aggressive towards staff and causing trouble.

CCTV footage showed the men leaving the store and heading into the car park.

Mr Alec Burns prosecuting said that McIntosh – who has previous convictions for battery and criminal damage – then approached two employees of Tesco’s who were on their break and became aggressive towards them.

He threatened to slash them and continued to point and wave his arms around aggressively.

The CCTV footage shows McIntosh edging closer to one of the men before a fight breaks out.

Mcintosh is then seen throwing punches before Gray and Forster join in.

Mr Burns said: “Thankfully there were no lasting injuries and everyone got into Murray’s car and fled.

“The car was driven dangerously and was pursued by police before crashing into a school fence.”

McIntosh, of Barwick Street, Durham and Gray, of Northlands, Durham made no reply when interviewed by police and Forster, of Station View, Chester-Le-Street said he had joined in on the fight to protect his friends.

All three pleaded guilty to affray at a previous hearing.

The court heard that five months later on March 6 this year, Gray was intoxicated outside the Bridge Pub in Chester-Le-Street while still on bail for the affray.

Mr Burns said: “He was drinking a bottle of cider and was clearly drunk when an altercation between his brother began.

“The two began fighting in the street and at some point Gray pulled out an unloaded BB gun.

“His brother knew it was an imitation firearm but the defendant began pointing the gun at passing traffic.”

Concerned members of the public phoned the police and Gray was arrested.

He was initially compliant but once in the police car started telling the arresting officers that he would kill them and that they had “entered a very dark world” and threatened to “blow their heads off.”

Anthony Davis, defending Gray said that he bought the gun for £35 and was initially going to be used for shooting birds in the woods.

He said that he also accepts that the members of the public would have been very concerned seeing the weapon.

Gray pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm at a previous hearing and was sentenced to 22 months in prison for both offences.

McIntosh, who was said to have given up taking drugs and was in employment was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 18 months as well as being ordered to carry out 120 hours unpaid work.

Lee Forster, who was said to have the better record of the men was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months as well as supervision for 12 months and ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work.

Sunderland Echo

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Defendents denied taking part in trouble but were convicted by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court

A further four members of the English Defence League (EDL) have been found guilty of violent disorder during a bloody demonstration in Birmingham city centre.

Following a trial, the jury convicted Adrian Rimmel, 50, of Swallow Avenue, Smithswood, Simon Reeve, 43, of London Road, Lowestoft, Suffolk, Gary Watts, 29, of Parsoles Avenue, Dagenham, Essex and Anthony Webster, 38, of Strathmore Crescent, Newcastle, of the offence on July 20, 2013.

Footage from the incident – which included demonstrators trying to use a portaloo as a weapon against cops – was shown to the jury.

His Honour Judge Richard Bond adjourned their case for pre-sentence reports to be drawn up, but he warned them a prison sentence was inevitable.

Granting the four bail, he said: “Do not think because I have adjourned this case for pre-sentence reports anything other than an immediate custodial sentence will follow.

“You know how serious this offence is and I am taking this violent disorder very seriously.

“The starting point (for sentence) is a quite lengthy custodial sentence,”

At the end of the trial, in which the jury viewed police footage from the demonstration, Judge Bond told the panel that around 50 EDL members would face sentence next month for offences committed during the same incident.

On the day of the disturbances in July 2013 demonstrators clashed with police officers, who were pelted with bottles, bricks and cans.

Last month, in the same court, Thomas Wilkie, aged 22, of Kent Road, Wednesbury, Shane Williams, 26, of Dragon Lane, Leicester and Andrew Edge, 44, of Wellington Road, Stockport, were also convicted by a jury of violent disorder.

Edge, who asked to be remanded into custody, chanted “EDL, EDL” as he was led down to cells.

Judge Bond told jurors at the time: “Well there you go, resounding confirmation the verdict you returned was the correct one.”

Birmingham Mail