Two behind bars after rival gangs ‘riot’ in Ipswich town centre clash

Victoria Street, Ipswich

Victoria Street, Ipswich

Two men who were involved in a “riot” during which two rival gangs armed with weapons, including bottles, baseball bats, an axe, knives, a hammer and pieces of wood, clashed in an Ipswich town centre street have been locked up for eight months.

Sentencing Brandon Smith and Aristote Yenge, Judge David Goodin said they had acted like “violent thugs” during what he described as a “riot”.

He said members of the public who witnessed the violence must have found it “terrifying”.

Smith, 19, and Yenge, 20, who are now serving prison sentences for drug offences, admitted violent disorder on October 26, 2014 and were each sentenced to eight months’ detention in a young offenders’ institution. A third defendant, Kirtan Singh, 19, of Whitton Church Lane, Ipswich, admitted using threatening behaviour and was given a four-month period of detention in a young offenders’ institution, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work in the community.Claire Matthews, prosecuting, said the incident, which involved around 15 young men in two gangs, took place in Victoria Street at around 4.30pm and lasted for about 15 minutes. She said one of the gangs was made up of a group of local men and the other came from London.“A large group of males was seen shouting and acting aggressively in the area of the Masons pub,” said Miss Matthews.The men were armed with a variety of weapons, including an axe, a hammer, baseball bats, bottles and pieces of wood.Miss Matthews said Yenge and Smith had gone into a convenience store in Surrey Road and had picked up bottles of cider which were passed to other people involved in the incident.“Bottles were flying around and missiles were being thrown and there was shouting between the two groups,” said Miss Matthews.She said the police had received “a flurry” of calls from members of the public about the incident and when officers arrived at the scene those involved ran off. The three defendants were arrested after a brief chase.Singh admitted throwing a bottle during the incident and Smith said he and his friends had been chased by a group of men armed with weapons, including knives and a hammer.Daniel Taylor, for Singh, said the bottle thrown by his client had not hit anyone.Ian Persaud, for Smith and Yenge, said witnesses to the incident had seen the gang from London brandishing weapons including a large knife, an axe, wine bottles and large sticks.He said his two clients had been extremely frightened when the armed London gang suddenly appeared and their response had been to get weapons of their own.He said no injuries or damage had been caused by his clients.

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