Anti-paedophile protesters jailed for causing chaos on North East bridge

The pair appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.
The pair appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.

Two pals who caused chaos when they staged a bridge top anti-paedophile protest - using a misspelled banner - have been put behind bars.

Craig Duffy and Jonathan Hoyle were so drunk they can barely remember walking along railway tracks to the bridge at Byker, where they staged a four hour stand-off while shouting abuse and throwing makeshift missiles at passers-by.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the pair, who displayed a pre-prepared banner demanding "HANG ALL PEODO'S" caused massive disruption to 5,000 metro passengers when the morning service was brought to a stand still.

Duffy, 28, of Benson Road and Hoyle, 26, of Scarborough Road, both in Walker, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance.

Miss Recorder Sarah Mallett sentenced them both to six months behind bars.

The judge told them: "I have to make sure anyone tempted to behave in this way will think more than twice about it.

"More than strict economic loss and the problems you caused to about 5,000 individuals on the Metro, you created significant potential dangers in the way you behaved and tied up police officers and the like.

"This is a case in which a genuine deterrent sentence has to be passed."

Prosecutor Jolyon Perks told the court the pair had accessed the metro tracks via Platform two at Byker station at around 7.30am on May 11.

Mr Perks said: "They unfurled a pre-prepared banner which had the words 'hang all paedos' painted on it."

The court heard because of the position of the protesters, the Metro service was suspended in both directions in that area, causing rush hour chaos.

Mr Perks said the men climbed up on viaduct railings, 150 meters above ground and started hurling ballast from the train tracks into the valley below.

Hoyle then picked up a piece of concrete, which he threatened to throw.

Both men shouting abuse during the disturbance.

The court heard Metro bosses were out of pocket when they had to draft in bus replacement services to ensure customers were able to travel.

Mr Perks said as well as the extra cost, the disruption caused damage to the train services' reputation and added: "Passengers not immediately being aware that what was happening was beyond the control of the service provider, there was tarnish to public image."

Both men have previous convictions.

Richard Bloomfield, defending Duffy, said the protest followed a heavy drinking session and added: "He doesn't remember a lot about it.

"While members of the public were on their way to work, they were out carrying out this protest.

"It appears to be about paedophiles, although the spelling of the banner was not exactly accurate."

Mr Bloomfield said Duffy has a long term drink problem which the authorities are aware of but has not been properly addressed.

Mark Saunders, also defending, said Hoyle has ADHD and has been prescribed medication.

Mr Saunders said Hoyle "genuinely apologises" and added: "He has no recollection of how the whole situation came around."