Nathan Sinden Facebook posts 'incited Hastings looting'

A 27-year-old man posted messages on Facebook to encourage looting during this summer's riots, a jury has heard.

Nathan Sinden, of St Leonards, East Sussex, has denied intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of burglary, at Hove Crown Court.

It is claimed Mr Sinden wrote: "Let's start a riot in Hastings. Who's on it?" and added that he was not joking.

Prosecutor Gabby Henty said the issue was whether he was joking or whether he intended to encourage crime.

Jurors were told that shops closed early in Hastings and large numbers of police were deployed on 9 August, because of Mr Sinden's postings and those of others on Facebook.

Riots across country

The court heard Mr Sinden also wrote: "Looting it is then today. Who's up for shopping?" and then wrote "Town on lockdown. LOL".

Mr Sinden was arrested the following day, jurors were told.

Ms Henty said: "During the summer, riots were taking place in London and other parts of the country.

"The defendant Nathan Sinden posted messages on his Facebook page which the prosecution say were intended to encourage the commission of an offence of burglary."

And she added: "The issue here is whether the defendant intended to encourage the commission of burglary or whether he was simply joking."

'Messages taken seriously'

The court was told one reply to the comments said: "Well then, I hope your daughter is very proud."

And jurors also heard that Sinden then wrote: "She will be when I've got her loads of new things."

Ms Henty told the court: "This Facebook activity was taken seriously by police, particularly in light of what was going on in the rest of the country, and indeed through other Facebook postings not connected with this defendant."

Jurors heard that Mr Sinden told police in interview that he was "joking" and had not intended to incite trouble.

The trial continues.

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