Feud between families started violent brawl at Barclays bank in Ipswich town centre

The scene of a fight at Barclays Bank in Ipswich - photos Jess Portway

The scene of a fight at Barclays Bank in Ipswich - photos Jess Portway - Credit: Archant

Frightened staff and customers at an Ipswich town centre bank locked themselves in offices during a violent brawl between two groups of men from rival Romanian families, a court has heard.

During the mid-morning incident in the main banking hall of Barclays in Princes Street, fire extinguishers and chairs were thrown resulting in more than £2,000 damage and the bank being closed for the rest of the day, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

On Friday, four men involved in the violence last June were given suspended prison sentences after admitting affray.

Andrew Thompson, prosecuting, said that at 11.20am on June 30 around 11 men “charged” into the bank and started exchanging punches and throwing any heavy object to hand.

At the time of the incident there were a number of customers in the bank going about their daily banking business.

Mr Thompson said many members of the public were left frightened by what took place and several had taken refuge in secure offices in the building.

One member of staff suffered a cut lip when one of the men involved in the affray tried to enter an office looking for something to throw.

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Mr Thompson said some members of staff received counselling following the brawl which lasted 11 or 12 minutes.

Mr Thompson said that eight of the men involved were part of the Sandu family and two were from a rival family. A 16-year-old boy was also caught up in the incident. He said some of those involved had since left the country.

Mr Thompson said the background to the case was a feud between two families.

The court heard that prior to June 30 there had been a number of allegations made to the police by the Sandu family about the other family involving threats and assaults.

These allegations had been investigated by the police but had resulted in no further action being taken.

Before the court were Florin Sandu, 36, of Woodbridge Road; Viorel Siminoc, 21, of Foxhall Road; Claudiu Sandu, 27, of Spring Road; and Costel Sandu, 31, of Speedwell Road; and a 16-year-old boy who cannot be named because of his age.

All five admitted affray.

Florin Sandu and Claudiu Sandu, who each have a wife and five children, were given a 16-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours’ unpaid work and a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Judge Levett said both men earned £1,000 a month and Florin Sandu received monthly benefits of £1,700 and Claudiu Sandu £1,900 a month.

Viorel Siminoc and Costel Sandu were each given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours’ unpaid work and a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.

All four defendants were each ordered to pay £525 compensation to Barclays, £600 costs and a £100 victim surcharge.

The 16-year-old youth was given a six-month referral order and a 29-hour activity requirement.

Sentencing the men Judge Levett said he was satisfied the tension that had caused the incident in June no longer existed.

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