A group of thugs shouted abuse at Asian employees who were on their way home from work – before running towards them with sticks and bricks, a court heard.
Wayne Lord (20), of Sedburgh Street, Burnley, and Declan Clayton (19), of Chapel House Road, Nelson, have been jailed for their part in the serious Burnley town centre disturbance on September 15th.
Burnley Crown Court heard how the group of white men, accompanied by three female friends, targeted the men, from Aroma Asian Restaurant, around 12-15am. They were on the opposite side of Church Street, when they began shouting “EDL” and asking the victims if they wanted a fight.
It was then they ran towards the group, and started hurling sticks. Some of the Asian men picked up the weapons for defence, and the manager of the restaurant tried to calm down the situation.
One of the girls was knocked to the ground during the incident, but avoided serious injury.
Police arrived and Clayton, described as one of the “leading lights” in the disorder, dropped his stick. He told officers: “I was just sticking up for a girl.”
Lord was later taken to the police station, where he told officers his group had been drinking at a flat, when they left around 11-30pm to go to another house.
He said he was walking behind the group, that he did not know what started off the disturbance and that he did not remember any verbal abuse.
He said he did not play a part in the incident, but that he did not try to stop it either. He added: “EDL isn’t racist anyway” and said that he “knows it was all stupid”.
Both Lord and Clayton pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour. Lord, who has 23 convictions for 36 offences, was locked up for six months, and Clayton, who has 14 convictions for 29 offences, was given an eight-month jail term.
Passing sentence, Recorder Stuart Driver QC, said: “The actions of one group, including the defendants, were mainly aggressive. The actions of the others were defensive.”