Four on trial accused of using Facebook during riots

Four Lancashire men are to go on trial accused of using Facebook to encourage rioting or looting.

Karl Manley, 28, of Heysham; and Stefan Johnson, 21, of Lancaster; are accused of encouraging or assisting the commission of a burglary.

Warren Calvert, 19, of Heysham; and Christopher Schofield, 26, of Nelson; are accused of assisting or encouraging rioting or violent disorder.

All four pleaded not guilty at a hearing at Preston Crown Court earlier.

The charges all relate to posts made on the social networking site on 9 August during the civil disturbances.

Mr Manley and Mr Johnson will be jointly be tried at Lancaster Crown Court on 6 February.

Both were alleged to have messaged: "PC World Lancaster 7.30pm. Let the looting begin, could do with a laptop."

Mr Schofield is alleged to have posted a message saying: "Riot alert, meeting Duke Bar 8pm. Faces covered. Weapons Advised. Come on peeps." He will go on trial on 13 February at Lancaster Crown Court.

Mr Calvert was alleged to have issued an invitation on Facebook to "join in or start a riot". He will face a trial at Preston Crown Court on 2 February.

They were all granted bail.

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