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Caught on video: Gang yobs locked up for terrifying violence

Telford | News | Published:

A gun was fired and a youth stabbed as teenagers 'bristling with weapons' – including one from Shropshire – fought a running battle through a city centre's streets, a court was told.

A 17-year-old girl passer-by was also hit with a hammer during the terrifying violence that involved up to 20 youths from rival gangs and cascaded into a hotel foyer in Wolverhampton.

Judge Andrew Lockhart, QC, said as he locked up three of the culprits at Wolverhampton Crown Court: "You came for a meeting between two groups which, if not actively planned, was enthusiastically anticipated.

"Those involved were bristling with weapons. There were at least two knives, a hammer and an imitation firearm. The groups were out on the streets of this city armed to the teeth and looking for trouble. Weapons were wielded and used to inflict injury and terrify."

The flare-up in roads near the bus station and Britannia Hotel in Lichfield Street at 8pm on April 19 involved youths from the combined Firetown and 623 gang and another group. Mr Philip Beardwell, prosecuting, said: "It was a very serious and ugly incident of public disorder."

A girl who had just arrived at Wolverhampton bus station with a group of girlfriends was hit on the back with a hammer by a schoolboy, 15 at the time but now 16, the court heard. An imitation firearm was fired in the air by a 16-year-old who then pointed the weapon at another of the girls while Connor Chambers was seen waving a knife at a rival, said the prosecutor.

The boy with the hammer was then chased by 19-year-old Nathaniel Nugent, who clutched a knife and was wearing the distinctive red flash of the Firetown gang, and Shifnal teenager Shamar Fairclough, also 19, said Mr Beardwell.

The schoolboy fled into the foyer of the Britannia where he was involved in a scuffle and was later found to have suffered a stab wound to the chest that required five stitches, it was said.

It is unclear when he was wounded. The violence was captured on a mobile phone by a member of the public and CCTV cameras at the hotel.

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The film footage played a key role in tracing and prosecuting those involved.

Eye witnesses were "shocked" by the age of those involved and the fact that they were armed, concluded Mr Beardwell.

The youngster with the gun, who like all defendants under the age of 18 cannot be named for legal reasons, was given an 18-month detention and training order. He had denied the offence.

The boy with the hammer admitted possession of a weapon, assault and affray and received an 18-month youth rehabilitation order under supervision and eight-month night time curfew.

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Chambers, 18, but 17 at the time of the offence, of Probert Road, Oxley, also got an 18-month detention and training order after being convicted of possession of a knife, an offence he denied.

Nugent, from Clive Road, Redditch, who pleaded guilty to possession of a knife and affray, was ordered to be detained in a Young Offenders Institution for two years.

Fairclough, of Coppice Green Lane, had agreed to be bound over for 12 months in the sum of £200 at an earlier hearing.

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