Armed police sent to Leeds primary school after confrontation between youths and arrested teenager armed with machete

Armed police were dispatched to a primary school after receiving reports of a confrontation between youths.

By Tony Gardner
Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 4:45 pm

Mohammed Suleman Ali was arrested close to Bankside Primary, Harehills, after members of the public witnessed the teenager taking the 'frightening' weapon out of a sheath and brandishing it the street.

Jade Edwards, prosecuting, said officers went to Markham Road at 3pm on January 8 this year, shortly before the school closed for the day.

The prosecutor said there had been a report of a group of males acting suspiciously and that one of them was armed with a machete.

Armed police were sent to Markham Avenue, Harehills, to a report of a confrontation between a group of youths near to Bankside Primary School.

Leeds Crown Court heard the males fled in different directions when police arrived at the scene.

Officers chased Ali as he was holding the machete. He held the weapon in his hand as he ran away.

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He continued to run along Markham Avenue but stopped when his path was blocked by a police car.

The 18-year-old dropped the weapon but refused to put his hands in the air when ordered to do so.

Ms Edwards said the area was densely populated at the time of the incident and there was a strong possibility of force having to be used against the defendant.

Two other men were arrested in the area on suspicion of affray. One of the men was in possession of a balaclava.

Ali was interviewed about the incident and claimed he had spotted the machete on the ground and had picked it up.

He was released on police bail pending further investigation but was arrested in Chapeltown on May 19 after being found in possession of a combat knife.

Ali was among a group of about 25 males who were stopped by police after there was a strong smell of cannabis in the area.

Ali was searched and found in possession of the knife.

Ali, of Vicars Road, Chapeltown, pleaded guilty to two offences of having a bladed article in public.

Probation officer Mike Cooper told the court that Ali had said in interview that carrying weapons in that area of Leeds was "part of a culture"

Mr Cooper said: "He said he carried a weapon for his own protection, not with the intention of using it.

"If he was confronted he would use it."

Rebecca Young, mitigating, said Ali was 17 at the time of the offences.

Ms Young said her client became involved in the first incident after being told his friend was being threatened by a group of men.

"He received a call that his friend was being threatened by a group of men.

"He grabbed the machete intending to simply frighten away the other men and to get his friend to safety.

"On reflection he is able to see and understand how serious it was."

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar said: "If it wasn't for your age there would be no question of me thinking about anything other than sending you to custody.

"You knew what you were doing but I am prepared to give you a chance to get away from this type of offending."

Ali was given a ten-month custodial sentence, suspended for 18 months.

He was made the subject of a curfew for 16 weeks and ordered to take part in a 20-day rehabilitation activity requirement.