West Yorkshire Police

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13 Jailed for Offences Relating to Halloween 'Ride Out'

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Thirteen people have been jailed for a total of nearly 15 years at court today for offences relating to the Halloween 'ride out' in Leeds where a large number of motorbikes congregated and were ridden dangerously and anti-socially through the city centre.

The twelve men and a woman were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court after earlier pleading guilty to causing a public nuisance following the incident on October 31 last year.

They were arrested as part of Operation Dice, an investigation led by Leeds District CID, following the incident where motorbikes and quad bikes congregated in Kirkstall Road before a large number were ridden through the city centre en masse, including through pedestrian areas and shopping arcades.

The investigation included detailed and painstaking analysis of CCTV from a range of sources to identify the suspects and their vehicles and illustrate their involvement on the night. Public appeals for information and extensive enquiries, including social media, also supported the investigation.

A series of early morning raids at addresses across Leeds in December last year resulted in the arrests of the main suspects and saw a number of motorbikes seized.

The incident also saw Leeds City Council secure a landmark injunction, under Section 1 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, which bans anyone from participating in anti-social driving of motor vehicles, including motorbikes and quad bikes, involving two or more motor vehicles in any public place in the Leeds district. The full order, which carries a power of arrest, was granted for five years at Leeds County Court in January.

The order also forbids people from promoting, organising or publicising the anti-social driving of motor vehicles.

Proactive policing operations were put in place to stop two similar potential 'ride out' events planned for Leeds on December 11 and New Year's Eve.

Pre-emptive visits were made to those identified as being involved in the organisation of the events to highlight the existing county court injunction and other officers were also deployed to prevent any build-up of vehicles at key locations on those dates.

At today's hearing the defendants were each jailed for 12 months or more.

David Armitage, aged 26, of Brookfield Road, Headingley was jailed for two years; Jamie Ayres, aged 26, of Lupton Avenue, Burmantofts was jailed for 12 months; Omar Ahmed, aged 24, of Stonegate View, Meanwood was jailed for 12 months; Ashley Benson, aged 25, of Whingate Road, Armley was jailed for 12 months; Michael Clough, aged 27, of Torre View, Burmantofts was jailed for 14 months; Ben Colley, aged 26, of Butterbowl Road, Farnley was jailed for 14 months; Dean Fawcett, aged 28, of Intake View, Middleton was jailed for 12 months; Nicholas Flaherty, aged 29, of Prospect Street, Farsley was jailed for 18 months; Rachel Taylor, aged 29, of Nowell Lane, Harehills was jailed for 12 months; Joshua Hawley, aged 22, of Mead Grove, Colton was jailed for 12 months; Dylan Lockwood, aged 23, of Torre Grove, Burmantofts was jailed for 12 months; Adam Nicholson, aged 26, of Henley Terrace, Bramley was jailed for 12 months; Anton Rojas, aged 26, of Skelton Avenue, Burmantofts was jailed for 12 months.

Ben Colley was also convicted of driving while disqualified and without insurance. Nicholas Flaherty was also convicted of perverting the course of justice.

YouTube Video - Ride Out CCTV Footage

Chief Superintendent Paul Money, Leeds District Commander, said: "The behaviour of these individuals and others that night put people's safety at risk, caused unnecessary fear to the public and created an image of lawlessness in the heart of the city that we simply could not allow to go unchallenged.

"We made it very clear in the immediate aftermath of the incident that we would be taking firm action against all those we could identify as being involved, and these outcomes at court today show us delivering on that promise.

"The situation this group created that night was completely unprecedented in Leeds and West Yorkshire and it presented a significant challenge to us due to the large number of people involved and the limited tactical options available to safely stop people on motorbikes.

"We immediately launched a criminal investigation into the incident which brought a number of arrests and seizures of vehicles over the following weeks and ultimately led to the convictions we have seen today.

"We also learned from the experience and now have comprehensive plans in place at both Force and District level to tackle any such events in future. These proactive tactics have seen us head off a number of other ride out events before they could materialise on the ground and our approach has been used nationally as best practice for policing such events.

"We hope the action we have taken alongside our partners in the local authority and the Crown Prosecution Service will serve to reassure the community and send a very clear deterrent message to anyone thinking of organising or taking part in this type of activity in future."

Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council's executive member with responsibility for Safer Leeds, said: "The sheer disregard shown by this group of individuals for the safety of the public in riding so dangerously through pedestrianised areas of the city centre and on many busy roads is something that will not be tolerated.

"We welcome therefore this action taken through the courts which has resulted in criminal convictions against those involved. I hope this sends out a clear message to anyone who may be tempted to become involved in this type of behaviour of the serious consequences that they will face.

"On a final note, I again would like to make it clear to law-abiding motorcyclists that the injunction we secured to help us tackle similar incidents if they occur in the future, will in no way hinder their own enjoyment driving as a group on the roads. The use of this injunction will only be considered when individuals are found to be putting the safety of residents and motorists at real risk as this group did."

Custody pictures:

Left - David Armitage, aged 26, of Brookfield Road, Headingley

Right - Nicholas Flaherty, aged 29, of Prospect Street, Farsley

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