Squatter Jailed for setting off fireworks into crowd of veterans on remembrance day

A Squatter who launched fireworks into a crowd of war veterans at a Remembrance Day service has been jailed for 16 weeks.

Squatter Stuart Potts, 38, set off two rockets shortly after 11am on remembrance Sunday in Eccles, Salford, as hundreds of people fell silent to remember our fallen heroes.

The “loud bangs” left the crowd terrified – with one former Royal Marine with PTSD saying it reminded him of gunshots.

Dad-of-four Potts has now admitted a public order offence and for firing fireworks in to a public place at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court.

The lout, who has 21 previous convictions for 39 offences, shook his head today as he was jailed for 16 weeks.

JPs heard how Potts gave no comment in a police interview but claimed “someone asked him to do it and he believed it was a mark of respect”.

Sentencing, Judge Mark Hadfield said: “Even if it is correct that you were handed them by another person, nobody in their right mind would think that letting them off in the middle of the ceremony shows a mark of respect.

“On the contrary, it shows a lack of respect.

“I have heard a statement from someone who served in the armed forces who was attending at this event. He thought it was gunfire.

“This has had a detrimental effect on him, and many others like him would have been shocked.”

Prosecutor Beth Pilling said Potts launched the two fireworks just as the ceremony was beginning.

She said: “The first one let off numerous loud bangs similar to gun shots. The second one was a rocket-like firework which was let off about 15 feet above the crowds.”

The dad-of-four was arrested shortly after footage emerged of him sitting on a roof and window ledge of the disused Albert Edward pub near the town cenotaph.

Furious locals had yelled “get him out” and hurled traffic cones at him as people in military dress tried to get into the building.

Potts was reportedly squatting and above the front door of the derelict pub a sign was stuck on that reads “Potsy 1664”.

The yob has previously lived in a tent in the city centre and on the banks of the canal, where he fished for food and washed in the water with shower gel.

He has worked as a cobbler, locksmith, painter and decorator and in factories.

Potts has also listed previous spells in prison on his Facebook bio – including HMP Strangeways and HMP Kirkham.

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