Street wardens ‘heavy-handed’ during fight outside bar

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A judge criticised the ‘heavy-handed’ force used by street wardens during a disturbance outside a city centre in which a pensioner suffered a broken leg.

A court was shown footage of the incident outside Passion Bar, in Wakefield, during which James Sykes, 21, attacked a 65-year-old man who was trying to calm the situation.

David Mackay, prosecuting, said the incident happened on November 9 last year as the victim was walking past the bar with his daughter and son-in-law.

He said: “As they were walking past there was a disturbance involving a number of people involving a number of people, including street wardens. There were concerns about the level of force being used.”

Mr Mackay added: “To say the street wardens were being heavy handed is perhaps an understatement.”

Leeds Crown Court heard Sykes, who had been out drinking, suddenly grabbed the victim by the neck and forced him to the floor.

The pensioner suffered a broken femur and later required a hip replacement. Sykes, of Orchard Avenue, Stanley, Wakefield, pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm.

The court heard he has previous convictions for violence.

Jonathan Devlin, mitigating, said his client was sorry for what he had done and had a problem with committing violent offences when he had been drinking.

Judge Penelope Belcher jailed Sykes for 12 months, She told Sykes: “There is no doubt at all that this was an unpleasant melee and street wardens used a level of force that was wholly inappropriate.

“Whether any action has been taken against them I do not know. I hope so but that is not the point.”

The judge added: “It is a concern to me that you are not a stranger to violence.”

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