Suffolk

Social networks ban for Facebook riot post boy

A 17-year-old from Suffolk has been banned from using social network sites for 12 months after encouraging people to riot in a Facebook message.

The teenager said in a message to friends "I think we should start rioting" and "come on rioters".

He admitted sending menacing messages but said it was not meant seriously and he regretted making the post.

As well as the ban he was told by Bury St Edmunds Youth Court to observe a three-month curfew from 19:00 to 06:00.

The court heard how the youth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, wrote the message at 09:45 on 9 August.

It read: "I think we should start rioting, it's about time we stopped the authorities pushing us about and ruining this country.

"It's about time we stood up for ourselves for once. So come on rioters - get some. LOL."

Magistrate Graham Higgins also ordered him to complete 120 hours community service and imposed a 12-month youth rehabilitation order.

Stupid moment

Mr Higgins said custody had been at the forefront of his mind but that the curfew order would act as "custody at home".

Prosecutor Lucy Miller said the college student had 400 friends on Facebook, some of whom replied to the message calling him an idiot.

Defence solicitor Paul Booty called on the magistrates not to be influenced by hysteria surrounding last week's disorder.

He said: "There has been a strong knee jerk reaction and lots of misinformation, including apparent orders, which turned out not to be true, that all parties should be given custodial sentences.

"My concern, not necessarily for this case but for cases up and down the country, is that there will also be an awful lot of appeals."

The boy's mother told the court: "He is normally a good boy but like all teenagers he has his stupid moments."

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