VIDEO: Police grapple with Hartlepool EDL member as he is arrested at rally

AN English Defence League supporter has been fined after trying to charge at rival protesters during a rally.

Craig Owens repeatedly shouted “EDL” at the group which gathered in South Shields to protest against a march by the right-wing EDL on August 31.

EDL protestors taking part in demonstration in South Shields

EDL protestors taking part in demonstration in South Shields

The 28-year-old – who led a similar march in Hartlepool earlier this year – was arrested as he ran towards them, but continued to shout as he was being led away by police.

He pleaded guilty at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday to using threatening words or behaviour.

Stan Sudworth, prosecuting, said: “On August 31, police were in South Shields marshalling a demonstration by the English Defence League.

“About 150 protesters were there and police say some were intent on causing trouble. The defendant broke away from his group and towards a counter-protest shouting ‘EDL’ over and over again.

EDL protestors taking part in demonstration in South Shields

EDL protestors taking part in demonstration in South Shields

“He had clenched fists and was waving his arms around.

“The officer who arrested him said he was sure his intention was to cause trouble.”

He added: “He was detained by the officer and led away.

“All the time, he continued to shout ‘EDL’ and was arrested.”

Owens, of Bruce Crescent, Hartlepool, represented himself in court.

He said: “The counter-protesters had posts and were charging at me. They were chanting ‘EDL scum’.

“It was tit for tat.”

District Judge Helen Cousins fined Owens £65 and ordered him to pay £85 and a £20 victim surcharge.