13:08 Friday 20 December 2013

WITH VIDEO AND SLIDESHOW - EDL supporter jailed for riots

Written byHELEN KREFT

A 40-YEAR-OLD Swadlincote man has been jailed for playing a part in violent disorder between English Defence League EDL) supporters.

Kirk Reeves, of Colliery Row, Church Gresley, was one of 32 people who appeared before Wolverhamton Crown Court this week to admit his part in the violent disorder which flared up at a protest rally in Walsall, last year.

He has been jailed for 18 months which is included in the total of 55 years that all the EDL supporters received.

Following the disorder, at the EDL’s Leicester Street demonstration site, an inquiry was launched by detectives from West Midlands Police’s criminal investigation department to track down those who brought violence to the streets of Walsall.

After protestors listened to speeches and displayed their flags, factions of the crowd of around 700 supporters started to turn violent with missiles being thrown at police who were trying to maintaining order.

One officer was even hit on the head with a table leg after members of the protest group smashed up garden furniture from a nearby pub beer garden.

Chief Superintendent Dave Sturman, commander of Walsall Police and the lead officer on the day of the protest, said: “A major operation was launched to try and maintain calm and order on the streets of Walsall that day and in the large part it was successful, however there was a minority who were intent on causing violence and disruption − and it is those people who are now facing the most severe sentences.

“This week’s court proceedings should send a clear message to those who are intent on coming to the West Midlands to cause trouble − we will not tolerate such behaviour.

“A team of detectives have worked tirelessly on this investigation for more than a year, determined to trace those involved in the disorder and bring them to justice.

“People who commit public order offences such as these should not rest easy as, no matter how long it takes, we will find you.

“We recognise that the people of Walsall were both concerned and inconvenienced on the day and we hope that residents of the town are reassured by our efforts to bring those involved in the disorder to justice.”

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Dunn led the year-long police investigation into the disorder. Following the sentencing, he said: “To see all of those involved in the disorder finally brought to justice is a great testament to the hard work and dedication of the officers who painstakingly worked to identify and arrest those responsible.

“Our inquiry has seen us liaise with forces across the country in a bid to identify people who had travelled far and wide to take part in the protest, and subsequently arrest them.

“Thirty people were arrested at the time, and we continued to arrest people up and down the country over the weeks and months that followed.

“We recovered many hours of CCTV, mobile phone and police footage which led to more than 450 hours of detective work to painstakingly track those involved throughout the day’s events and then put a name to those faces.

“These court proceedings underline the fact that we will pursue people who commit crime in the West Midlands, no matter how long it takes, and bring them to justice.”

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