Saturday 24 February 2018

Dad denies trying to encourage riot and looting on Facebook

Tom Pugh

A FATHER posted a series of messages on Facebook to encourage looting at the height of the nationwide riots in the summer, a court heard today.

Nathan Sinden, 27, allegedly intended to stoke trouble by writing: "Let's start a riot in Hastings. Who's on it?" before telling friends on the site that he was not joking.

He also wrote: "Looting it is then today. Who's up for shopping?" and followed it up with "Town on lockdown. LOL," a jury was told.

Hove Crown Court heard that because of his postings and those of others on Facebook, shops closed early and large numbers of police were deployed in Hastings, East Sussex, on August 9.

Sinden, of Blackman Avenue, St Leonards-on-Sea, was arrested the following day but denies intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of burglary.

In her opening speech, prosecutor Gabby Henty said: "During the summer, riots were taking place in London and other parts of the country.

"The defendant Nathan Sinden posted messages on his Facebook page which the prosecution say were intended to encourage the commission of an offence of burglary."

She added: "The issue here is whether the defendant intended to encourage the commission of burglary or whether he was simply joking."

A number of Sinden's friends posted replies to his comments, including one who said: "Well then, I hope your daughter is very proud."

Jurors heard that Sinden replied: "She will be when I've got her loads of new things." He added in another post: "F*** it. Old Bill probably s******* it."

Ms Henty said: "This Facebook activity was taken seriously by police particularly in light of what was going on in the rest of the country and indeed through other Facebook postings not connected with this defendant."

She added that when Sinden was arrested, he told police in interview that he was "joking" and that he had not intended to incite any trouble.

Detective Constable James Parkinson, of Sussex Police, said Sinden told him: "Yeah, I did it but I was only joking. You don't expect to believe everything you read on Facebook."

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