DCSIMG

Football thug involved in mass brawl spared jail

Newcastle Crown Court

Newcastle Crown Court

MEMBERS of the public were forced to cower as football yobs from a gang known as the Sunderland Youth Firm clashed with rival fans in the city centre.

CCTV footage of the organised mass brawl outside the Revolution bar in Low Row shows punches and kicks being thrown while bottles were being broken, leaving the pavements covered in broken glass.

One witness told police they felt “sick to the stomach” by what they saw that day.

Troublemakers then boasted about the violence with West Ham fans, via social networking sites and text messages.

Videos of the fight were also posted on video-sharing website You Tube.

Newcastle Crown Court heard members of the public looked on in fear and were worried for the safety of their children when the afternoon trouble broke out ahead of the match on January 12.

The yobs were spared jail but handed football banning orders for three years.

“Members of the public can reasonably expect to enjoy the amenities of the town centre without being exposed to this kind of frightening activity.”

Prosecutor Robert Adams told the court the violence itself lasted only around three minutes, by which time police arrived. Mobile phones were seized when the gang was arrested.

Nobody reported any serious injury.

One of the thugs, former EDL member Anthony Smith, 26, of Purvis Terrace, Trimdon, who claimed to love hooliganism on his Twitter page, was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and 250 hours unpaid work.

All pleaded guilty to a charge of violent disorder at an earlier hearing.

The court heard the men are not heavily convicted and come from respectable backgrounds.

Defence barrister Christopher Knox said: “The reality is, as soon as the police arrived, everybody ran away.

“These are essentially law abiding people.”

A judge told them: “Football is a source of pleasure to literally millions of people.

“What football hooliganism of the type you engaged in does is besmirch the good name of football and deter people from going to matches, particularly parents who want to take young children, lest they get caught up in scenes of violence.

“This was not a spontaneous outburst of violence.

“It took place in broad daylight in Sunderland town centre, in clear view of members of the public.

“Members of the public can reasonably expect to enjoy the amenities of the town centre without being exposed to this kind of frightening activity.”

 

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