Prisoners fought one another during riot

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PRISONERS battled one another during a riot that caused millions of pounds worth of damage, a court in Hove heard today (Friday, January 20).

The jury heard how some inmates at Ford Prison, dressed in balaclava-like masks, used fire extinguishers and broom handles to smash windows, before setting light to buildings with matches and paper, while others attempted to protect their “home” by putting the fires out.

The prison uprising, on January 1, 2011, lasted for about 12 hours and was compared to the likes of the formerly war-torn city of Beirut by one witness, in a summary read out by prosecutor Ian Acheson during the second day of the trial, at the Hove Trial Centre.

Lee Roberts, 41, Thomas Regan, 23, Ryan Martin, 25, Lennie Franklin, 23, Roche Allen, 25, Paul Hadcroft, 25, and Carniel Francis, 25, all deny a charge of prison mutiny. Six of the men have also pleaded not guilty to a charge of violent disorder. Regan has pleaded guilty to the charge.

Roberts, Regan, Martin, Franklin, Allen, and Hadcroft also deny a further charge of arson, being reckless as to whether life was endangered. Roberts has pleaded guilty to a simple charge of arson.

About £5m worth of damage was caused to the category D prison, Mr Acheson said.

He added that tensions were high, following a series of breathalyser tests for alcohol, which had taken place in the run-up to the mutiny.

The trial, which is scheduled to last until March 1, will continue on Monday.