18 Aug 2011

Riot penalties defended by PM

9:59 pm on 18 August 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron has defended the tough sentences being imposed those involved in the recent riots across England.

On Tuesday, two men were sentenced at Chester Crown Court to prison for four years for using Facebook to incite riots. One is to appeal against the sentence.

Some MPs and campaigners say the terms are too harsh.

But Mr Cameron said it was good that the courts were sending a ''tough message''.

Speaking in Warrington, he said: ''It's up to the courts to make decisions about sentencing, but they've decided to send a tough message and it's very good that the courts feel able to do that.''

So far, more than 2770 people have been arrested in connection with riots, which started in northern London on 6 July and lasted four nights.

Some 1297 people have now appeared before the courts. The majority of charges relate to burglary, theft and handling, and violence and violent disorder offences.