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Thirteen bikers jailed over ‘Mad Max’ ride-out in Leeds city centre

They were handed prison sentences of between 12 months and two years.

Thirteen bikers who caused chaos in a “Mad Max-style” Halloween ride-out in Leeds city centre have been jailed.

They were handed prison sentences of between 12 months and two years for their parts in the organised event, which saw more than 100 riders on motorbikes and quad bikes disrupting traffic and riding through pedestrianised areas.

David Armitage, who organised the event through social media, was filmed during the incident encouraging “carnage” and telling riders to “shut down” the city centre.

Police said the lawlessness and fear caused on October 31 led to people branding the scene as like Mel Gibson film Mad Max.

Sentencing the defendants at Leeds Crown Court, Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: “This is a case which calls for a deterrent sentence.

“Behaviour of this sort, having serious effects on this city, cannot be tolerated.”

David Armitage was give a two-year jail sentence after encouraging the ride-out in facebook (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

The bikers, on motorbikes, scooters, scramblers and quad bikes, gathered “en masse” on Kirkstall Road and Leeds city centre at rush hour.

Some of the riders were not wearing helmets and some were wearing face coverings, including Halloween-style masks. A number of the bikes did not have licence plates.

The bikers were seen speeding, weaving in and out of vehicles, riding on pavements, in bike and bus lanes, through pedestrian-only areas and red lights and on the wrong side of the road, and performing wheelies and other stunts.

Nicholas Flaherty admitted perverting the course of justice by posting a message on Facebook warning people to get rid of their bikes during the police investigation. He was sentenced to 18 months (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

One group of riders drove through a narrow, pedestrianised shopping arcade in the city centre, with one quad bike colliding with a motorcycle and injuring the rider’s leg.

Judge Marson said bikes were seen riding on pavements towards groups of children out trick-or-treating, customers at a supermarket on Kirkstall Road were unable to leave and the store had to close early as a result of the disruption.

One woman reported that she was unable to cross the road with her disabled son, who had a seizure as a result of the noise.

Police received around 160 calls from the public and took the decision to close a section of Kirkstall Road, which was eventually reopened at around 10.10pm.

Judge Marson said the riders were “causing danger and serious inconvenience to citizens”.

He said: “This was a planned event, organised through the use of social media.

“It began at about 5.15pm, during the rush hour in this city, on Monday 31 October 2016.

“Approximately 100 riders gathered en masse in the city centre.

“I have seen CCTV and mobile phone recordings showing the chaos that ensued in this city over a period of more than four hours.”

The court heard that Armitage, who did not take part in the event due to injury but was shown encouraging the riders on a Facebook live video, said the ride-out was to raise money for the family of 17-year-old Sophie Smith, who was murdered by her 18-year-old partner.

He claimed to have raised around £400 but the court heard that the family had received no money and did not want to associate themselves with the event.


From Belfast Telegraph