Manchester

Man who lit fireworks at Salford Remembrance Sunday event jailed

Stuart Potts
Image caption Stuart Potts claimed he set off the fireworks to emulate the volley of shots fired at some Remembrance Day events

A man who admitted ruining a Remembrance Sunday event by setting off fireworks during a two-minute silence has been jailed for 16 weeks.

Stuart Potts, 38, let off two fireworks as hundreds of people observed the silence at 11:00 GMT at the cenotaph in Eccles, Salford, on Sunday.

Potts set off the fireworks while sitting on a ledge of a first-floor window in a nearby disused pub.

He admitted throwing a firework in public, and a public order offence.

Potts of Borough Road, Salford, who has 21 previous convictions, claimed he was given the fireworks by someone else and lit them "as a mark of respect" to emulate the volley of shots fired at some Remembrance Day events.

'Lack of respect'

Sentencing him at Manchester Magistrates' Court, District Judge Mark Hadfield said he did not believe Potts' story.

He added: "I rather doubt that anybody in their right mind would think letting them off in the middle of that ceremony was a mark of respect.

"It shows a staggering lack of respect for those attending and those being remembered."

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Media captionAngry veterans shouted "Get him out!" before officers took a man away in a police car

The fireworks exploded above the cenotaph as the Last Post ended.

Beth Pilling, prosecuting, told the court the first resulted in loud bangs, and the second - a rocket - flew above the heads of the crowd gathered at the service.

The court heard a crowd of angry veterans gathered outside the pub window in Church Street shouting, "Get him out!" and tried to break the door of the pub down, while others attempted to climb up to the window.

When Potts appeared at the window to remonstrate with the crowd, a number of traffic cones were thrown at him before he was arrested.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Fireworks exploded as the Last Post ended and hundreds of people were observing a two-minute silence

The court heard a statement from an ex-Royal Marine who was at the event to place a cross on the cenotaph for a fallen comrade.

He said the loud bangs reminded him of combat and it had affected his post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It was the most disrespectful thing he had witnessed at such an event, he added. No injuries were reported.

Abigail Henry, mitigating, said Potts had shown "sincere and genuine remorse for his actions".

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