Paul Batty, for the prosecution, was opening the case against 12 men, 11 of whom plead not guilty to violent disorder last September. A total of 50 people face charges relating to the disturbances, and the hearings are expected to last about 10 weeks.
Three hundred people went on a rampage that caused more than pounds 1.3m damage because they believed police officers had rammed a stolen car during a high-speed chase, killing the two young men inside, a court was told yesterday. The chasing police car was half a mile behind the stolen vehicle when it crashed. But the rumours which circulated on the Meadow Well Estate, North Shields, after the deaths sparked a four-hour riot which caused 'unprecedented damage', Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court was told.