A SPOKESMAN for the Crown Prosecution service last night, Tuesday, defended the long sentences handed to two men, one from Northwich, who tried to organise riots through Facebook.

Martin McRobb, Crown Advocate for CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said: “Jordan Blackshaw [from Northwich] and Perry Sutcliffe [from Warrington] independently and from the safety of their homes may have thought that it would be acceptable to set up a Facebook page to incite others to take part in disorders in Cheshire.

"They were wrong and were both sentenced today to four years’ imprisonment at Chester Crown Court, after pleading guilty to intentionally encouraging another to assist the commission of an indictable offence under sections 44 and 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007.

“They both used Facebook to organise and orchestrate serious disorder at a time when such incidents were taking place in other parts of the country.

Both defendants, in Northwich and Warrington respectively, sought to gain widespread support in order to replicate similar criminality.

“In investigating these cases, the Cheshire Constabulary acted very swiftly and effectively to close down these websites and to ensure that there was no actual participation in the planned events.

“Nevertheless, these posts caused significant panic and revulsion in local communities as rumours of anticipated violence spread.

“The Crown Prosecution Service worked very closely with the police and Cheshire Crown Court to bring forward preliminary hearing dates that had initially been listed on September 19.

“We were able to serve upon the defence in both cases sufficient case material that led to early guilty pleas and we were able to present the facts in both cases in a fair but robust manner.

“While the judge heard the two defendants were previously of good character, they admitted committing very serious offences that carry a maximum sentence of 10 years. The consequence of their actions could have led to more disorder and this was taken into account.”