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Five far right thugs admitted violent disorder in city centre two years ago

Five thugs who styled themselves the “Polish hooligans” and travelled to Liverpool to take part in a far-right rally in the city centre avoided prison sentences.

They were recruited by a group calling itself the North West Infidels , who organised the anti-immigration march on Saturday, February 27, 2016.

It led to widespread disturbances on Lime Street and around St George’s Plateau as the far-right mob were met by equally determined counter demonstrators.

Police struggled to keep order and a number of people, including police officers, were injured as cobblestones, fireworks, bottles and other missiles were hurled between the two groups.

Five Polish nationals – Lukasz Poczesny, 34, Igor Fiodorow, 20, Marcin Lasota, 33, Patryk Lesniowski, 22, and Mateusz Slezak, 26 – all appeared at Liverpool Crown Court for sentencing this afternoon after pleading guilty to violent disorder.

Simon Driver, prosecuting, said no attempts had been made to liaise with Merseyside police ahead of the planned rally.

Mr Driver said an already tense stand-off between the two groups was further inflamed by the arrival of the “Polish hooligans” gang, who were wearing black hooded jackets and intimidating masks.

He added: “The arrival of this group was a catalyst for an increase in the levels of violence which then ensued between the opposing factions.

Igor Fiodorow - one of four charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder after clashes between anti-fascists and the far-right protestors

Igor Fiodorow – one of four charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder after clashes between anti-fascists and the far-right protestors

“Police officers came under direct attack from both sides. Items including industrial fireworks, flares, bottles, cobblestones, eggs, fruit and vegetables and other missiles were thrown at the police and the opposing groups.

“A police inspector was knocked unconscious by a missile and a police constable suffered a broken wrist.”

Other injuries including a young woman who suffered a facial injury that needed plastic surgery, and a man who suffered a broken nose, after both were hit by flying masonry.

The five defendants were arrested by police after order was restored and they were identified on CCTV footage. An examination of their mobile phones found they had been in communication with each other and with members of the North West Infidels.

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, said the group’s political views, however offensive, may have been genuinely held, but the real reason for their presence was to behave like hooligans.

He added: “This was all sport for you, whatever your superficial political beliefs.”

He said he was sparing them custodial sentences on account of the fact that they were all employed, had pleaded guilty, and the events had taken place some time ago.

Members of the group each received prison terms of 18 months, suspended for two years, and were ordered to carry out either 150 or 180 hours’ unpaid work.

Liverpool Echo

Three men jailed after court hears of “planned mob violence” featuring arsenal of weapons and “appalling” injuries

Three far right Polish hooligans recruited by neo-Nazis to fight anti-fascists in Liverpool were today jailed.

Opposing factions hurled missiles and caused up to £25,000 of damage to St George’s Hall in ugly scenes on Saturday, February 27, 2016.

A woman was left scarred for life, a man suffered a broken nose and a police officer was knocked unconscious outside Lime Street Station.

Another officer suffered a broken wrist and an elderly black woman was racially abused and struck in the head by a stone.

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

Marcin Reekus, Pawel Starzynski, Lukasz Pietraszek and Michal Nalepka all admitted violent disorder at the start of a trial.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how they were recruited by event organisers and North West Infidels members Shane Calvert and Wayne Bell.

Convicted crack cocaine and heroin dealer Reekus, 31, was described as the “principal organiser” of the “Polish Hooligans” group.

He ran a ‘Polish Ultras’ Facebook page and after being contacted by Calvert, sent him a poster confirming they would fight side-by-side.

Reekus knew the “anti-immigration demonstration” was being moved from Manchester to Liverpool – a deliberate ploy to try and trick police.

Lukasz Pietraszek, 38, of Hayes, West London, jailed for 20 months after admitting violent disorder(Image: Handout)

Lukasz Pietraszek, 38, of Hayes, West London, jailed for 20 months after admitting violent disorder(Image: Handout)

Simon Driver, prosecuting, said Reekus did not get out of the train station, where he was pictured posing with a Polish flag.

But a second group of fascists gathered on the steps of St George’s Hall, where neo-Nazi flags were flown amid ‘sieg heil’ salutes.

Pawel Starzynski, 36, of Ware, Hertfordshire jailed for 20 months after admitting violent disorder(Image: Handout)

Pawel Starzynski, 36, of Ware, Hertfordshire jailed for 20 months after admitting violent disorder(Image: Handout)

Police spotted 10 to 15 men in a car park in Craven Street near TJ Hughes, who Mr Driver said “made no secret of their designs”.

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

Marcin Reekus, 31, of Bradford, West Yorkshire jailed for 23 months after admitting violent disorder(Image: Handout)

Marcin Reekus, 31, of Bradford, West Yorkshire jailed for 23 months after admitting violent disorder(Image: Handout)

The masked group were approached by an officer and asked what they had come to Liverpool for, to which one thug replied: “A fight.”

The group – including Starzynski, 36, Pietrazek, 28, and Nalepka, 33 – doubled in size then “descended in unison” to the hall.

Mr Driver said: “The arrival of this group was a catalyst for an increase in the levels of violence.”

Police came under attack from both sides with industrial fireworks, flares, bottles, cobble stones and eggs at around 2.30pm.

After four and a half hours, officers encircled the right wing supporters and marched them back to Lime Street Station.

Police recovered a pepper spray canister from the steps and knuckledusters, a baton and a dog chain from the area where the Poles were held.

Starzynski was arrested and his mobile phone revealed his number had been used for arranging transport on a “f*** Islam and ISIS” event poster.

Liverpool's Lime Street was brought to a standstill during a full-scale riot erupted after anti-racist confronted around 70 people from far-right group the North West Infidels. Photo by James Maloney

Liverpool’s Lime Street was brought to a standstill during a full-scale riot erupted after anti-racist confronted around 70 people from far-right group the North West Infidels. Photo by James Maloney

He had talked about buying the hoodies, one of which he wore when he ran to the hall and threw a smoke canister at counter-protesters.

He was recorded wearing a clown mask, which he took off to reveal a gum shield, and “sparring mitts” on his hands.

Pietrazek also wore one of the hoodies and his phone showed he was responsible for buying and distributing the tops.

Liverpool's Lime Street was brought to a standstill during a full-scale riot erupted after anti-racist confronted around 70 people from far-right group the North West Infidels. Photo by James Maloney

Liverpool’s Lime Street was brought to a standstill during a full-scale riot erupted after anti-racist confronted around 70 people from far-right group the North West Infidels. Photo by James Maloney

He had exchanged text messages with a man about fighting “lefties”, saying a “decent crew” was going from Preston, Leeds and Crewe.

Nalepka, who wore his own grey top, was recorded with his face covered and wearing gloves with padded knuckles.

Mr Driver said: “He is captured on the footage adopted a fighting stance with his fists raised towards left wing protesters.”

Nalepka was pushed back by officers, but later breached a cordon, only to be assaulted by counter-protesters.

Judge Andrew Menary, QC, imposed criminal behaviour orders, banning all four men from entering Liverpool for five years.

He said many of the “self-styled Polish hooligans” wore “deliberately intimidating face masks” and tops bearing violent imagery.

The judge said: “There was nothing benign about the hooded tops that those men were wearing.” He added: “It was planned mob violence.”

Poster from the North West Infidels group about its proposed Liverpool march

Poster from the North West Infidels group about its proposed Liverpool march

Reekus, of Bradford, West Yorkshire, was jailed for 23 months and Starzynski, of Ware, Hertfordshire, and Pietraszek, of Hayes, West London, for 20 months each.

Michal Nalepka, of Harlow, Essex, was handed 20 months in prison, suspended for two years, plus a 25-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

Judge Menary said Nalepka must perform 250 hours of unpaid work and pay £500 in compensation, to be split equally between the five victims.

Liverpool Echo