West Suffolk: Facebook riot teen spared jail

A TEENAGER from Suffolk who posted a Facebook message urging friends to riot has been spared jail.

The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, left a post on his Facebook wall on August 9, urging his 400 friends to start rioting in the wake of a night of brutal civil disturbance in London.

But the teen, who faced up to six months in jail, was handed a 12-month youth rehabilitation order by magistrates today, banning him from using social networking sites for the next year.

The sentence comes after two men from Cheshire were jailed for four years each yesterday for using Facebook to incite disorder during riots in England last week.

Speaking at Bury St Edmunds Youth Court today, the boy, who lives in a village outside the town, said he hadn’t meant the message to be taken seriously.

“I put it on there thinking it was a bit of fun,” he told the court.

“I wasn’t expecting to be taken seriously.”

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Graham Higgins, presiding magistrate, told the boy the bench had considered jailing him for his actions.

“Custody has been in the forefront of our minds,” Mr Higgins said.

“We took into account however that this was an offence you tried to draw back from afterwards.”

The boy must also complete 120 hours unpaid work and will be electronically tagged to enforce a curfew from 7pm to 6am for the next three months.