Tyne & Wear

Sunderland protester William Charlton 'riled up' crowd of 150

William Charlton
Image caption William Charlton denies five counts of stirring up racial hatred

The organiser of a series of protest rallies left a crowd "riled up" and "agitated", a court has heard.

William Charlton - known as Billy - denies five charges of stirring up racial hatred in a number of speeches.

Newcastle Crown Court was shown police body camera footage taken in Sunderland in 2016 in which he told a crowd: "This is our town, this is our town."

Speaking about immigrants, he said: "These people don't understand that the rules - are our rules."

Mr Charlton, 55, criticised Northumbria Police's response to alleged criminal incidents involving immigrants saying: "Start standing up for us, start defending us."

'Counter reaction'

Insp Scott Berry, who was on duty on the day of the protest, told the jury: "He riled up the crowd in my opinion."

Insp Berry was concerned there would be a "counter-reaction" from young Asian men, he told jurors.

They had started to come into the area "in large numbers" in response to Mr Charlton's speech.

The court heard extra police officers had to be brought into the city because there were concerns there would be "problems in the town centre".

Mr Charlton, of Byland Court, Washington, denies stirring up racial hatred in speeches in Sunderland in 2016 and 2017.

The trial continues.

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