A man who urged young people on Facebook to riot in Manchester during the summer disturbances has been jailed for three years. The judge sentencing him said those who organised and encouraged the riots were just as guilty as those who participated in them. Twenty-two year old Phillip Scott Burgess posted a status on his profile urging people to “put Manchester on the map” like London and Birmingham by rioting. Several hours later rioters began looting a shopping centre not far from the man’s home in Greater Manchester.
The police launched a large scale operation to bring the disorder to an end, but not before huge amounts of damage and looting had taken place. Police officers and their vehicles were also attacked and damaged in the rioting that occured.
Burgess was handed the sentence from Manchester Crown Court after pleading guilty to three counts of publishing written material to stir up racial hatred and encouraging or assisting the commission of a riot. Police arrested him at his home on August 16 as part of their operation to identify and arrest all those who took part in the disorder.
Burgess posted a message on his Facebook wall saying: “Message to all – we need to start riot’n we need to put Manchester on the map, first lets riot king street Manchester, haha.”
Over the next three days he continued to write messages encouraging rioting, many including racist statements about the rioters. Burgess has a previous conviction for racially aggravated common assault.
Sentencing Burgess, Judge Michael Henshell said, “Even if one or two people had read it and talked about it to others, it had the potential of causing real public mischief.”
Two other men from Cheshire are currently serving four year prison sentences for inciting riots as well. Their appeal to have their sentences shortened was denied by the Court of Appeal earlier this month.