Man Jailed For Riot Texts

3 February 2012, 14:26

A man has been jailed for three years and three months after he admitted encouraging hundreds of people to join in widespread riots during the summer.

Sam Lowe, 21, pleaded guilty at Nottingham Crown Court to encouraging violent disorder when he sent a text message to 160 of his friends trying to get them to commit violence during the disorder in Nottingham city centre in August last year.


Nottinghamshire Police said the text message he sent read: ``Girls, grannies, mums, dads, lads, granddads - everyone meet on Sneinton Dale tonight at 9 o'clock as we are all going to kick off...''


Lowe, of Keswick Court, Sneinton, Notts, was arrested in the early hours of August 9 as he walked along Robin Hood Street in St Ann's.
Police had been tipped off to a message he sent from his BlackBerry mobile phone earlier that evening in which he called for people to rise up against the police.

Nottinghamshire Police said that investigators found the text message, which also went on to suggest people show the police ``what it's all about''. He implied that he was involved in the disorder and professed to having ``a bin full of bricks''.

Detective Rich Henson, from Nottinghamshire Police, said the conviction was a triumph for the force.
``BlackBerry Messenger, or BBM, is not your standard mobile communication. It is an instant messenger service and much more secure than an ordinary text message,'' he said.
``The fact that BBMs have advanced security and encryption means they are almost impossible to access by third parties.
``That is why Lowe's conviction is a particularly great result for the force, demonstrating some first-class work by our digital investigation unit.
``Messages sent via BlackBerry Messenger are sent over the BlackBerry 'Pin' system and thus communication is only possible between two reciprocating BlackBerry devices.
``Both parties must authorise the addition of each BlackBerry device user to their contact list before direct communication can take place.
``Lowe broadcast his initial message to the 160 BlackBerry users he'd added to his contacts list and subsequently deleted it.
``Not only did we manage to gain access to Lowe's BlackBerry Messenger messages, we were able to retrieve his deleted messages, which are also very difficult to recover due to rigorous security settings.
``Let this be a clear warning to those criminals out there who think they are safe using BlackBerrys to orchestrate or commit crime. There is no where to hide.''
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Griffin, who is leading the investigation into the August disorder in Nottingham, said: ``The judge today has handed down a sentence to reflect the seriousness of Lowe's actions.
``It is impossible to quantify the impact and effects of the messages he sent that night. It is clear, however, that this was an irresponsible and criminal act at a time when people were rising up against the police on a national scale.''

So far, under Nottinghamshire Police's Operation Constantia, 141 people have been arrested and 87 of them charged in connection with last August's violent disorder in Nottingham.

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