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Police conclude investigation on Dover riots of January 30, 2016 after 64 convictions

By Sam Lennon

A two-year investigation into the Dover riots has concluded.

The case of the mass violence that erupted between far right marchers and anti-fascist protesters is closed unless there is any further evidence.

The ugly scenes happened in the Folkestone Road and town centre areas on January 30, 2016.

Far right marchers holding their flags and police on the day of the rioting.
Far right marchers holding their flags and police on the day of the rioting.

There had also been violent scenes at a service station on the M20 near Maidstone earlier that day.

From that day a dedicated team of police officers and staff to catch the culprits, leading to to convictions of 64 people and jail sentences totally 85 years being imposed by the courts, some suspended.

Kent Police stress that while the investigation has now concluded, any further evidence of further individuals responsible will be acted upon.

Effingham Street, Dover, where stones were thrown from either end.
Effingham Street, Dover, where stones were thrown from either end.
Chief Constable Alan Pughsley. Picture: Simon Hildrew..
Chief Constable Alan Pughsley. Picture: Simon Hildrew..

Chief Constable Alan Pughsley said:"The violent offences committed in Dover were some of the worst my officers have ever been faced with and understandably caused a great deal of distress for innocent members of the community and business owners who were forced to witness the fighting and deal with the aftermath.

"The majority of those responsible were from outside of the county and travelled to Kent with the sole intention of causing trouble.

"They have since learned the hard way that we will not tolerate such behaviour and will travel the length and breadth of the UK to arrest them and ensure they face the consequences of their actions.

‘I am proud of the work carried out by the investigation team, who have helped to send a clear message that Kent is a no-go area for anyone planning to commit violence under the pretence of peaceful protest.

"I hope the people of Dover share my pride in their professionalism and are reassured that we take such incidents seriously and will not stand for such violence on our streets."

The majority of people jailed in relation to the offences either admitted or were found guilty of committing violent disorder, in many cases due to them throwing objects and fighting in the street.

Police, seen in Folkestone Road, brought the dogs out as trouble escalated during the 2016 march. Picture: Sam Lennon.
Police, seen in Folkestone Road, brought the dogs out as trouble escalated during the 2016 march. Picture: Sam Lennon.

However, the longest sentence passed down was seven years for Peter Atkinson, now 48, from Merseyside, who was jailed in May 2016 after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

He had been caught on camera assaulting a photographer with a flagpole, leaving his victim with multiple bone splinters to his elbow.

In August 2016 James Whitbread, now 41, from Mooring Road, Rochester, got the second longest sentence of four years in custody after being found guilty of throwing objects at opposition protestors and assaulting a man.

Brett Vaughan, 46, from Lancashire, was jailed for three-and-a-half years in March 2017 after he was also caught throwing objects on three separate occasions.

Kent Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott.
Kent Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott.

Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Scott said: "I was shocked and appalled at the violence and disorder. "These thugs were never intending to exercise their right to peaceful protest.

"I commend Kent Police on its robust and meticulous response. The Chief Constable and his team pursued the offenders relentlessly over many, many months. In some cases people were convicted more than two years after the event.

"Perhaps, having specifically travelled to Dover to cause trouble hundreds of miles away from their homes, they thought Kent Police had forgotten about them?

" Clearly that was not the case and I hope this makes any other hooligans think twice before coming to Kent in future."

Protesters at Folkestone Road as tensions mounted.
Protesters at Folkestone Road as tensions mounted.

Saturday, January 30, 2016 had begun with a peaceful rally at Market Square with prominent speakers such as Labour politician Diane Abbott.

Also in the square were a group of masked demonstration who suddenly broke away and went to confront the far right marches as they arrived at Dover Priory Station.

Violence soon erupted and at one stage the rival sides threw stones and other missiles at each other from either end of Effingham Street.

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