A man who invited dozens of people on Facebook to join a riot in Fife during last summer's violent outbreaks in England has been spared a jail term.
Gary Kennedy invited other users of the social networking site to the page, titled Let's cause riots in Fife, at the height of the disturbances that swept a series of English cities last August.
He faced a lengthy jail term when he appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on Monday for sentence just a week after teenager Liam Allan received a one year and seven month custodial sentence for an almost identical offence.
But a sheriff told Kennedy "in your circumstances an alternative is available" and gave him 20 months of community service.
Rioting gripped areas of London and the city centres of Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Gloucester and other towns during the month of August.
Susannah Hutchison, prosecuting, told Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court that the page had been reported to Fife Constabulary by two separate people who had been invited to it during that month.
She said: "Fife Constabulary received information that a page had been created inviting people to attend in the Leven area for the purposes of taking part in a riot. The page incited people to form part of a mob. Police received contact from two individuals who had received Facebook notifications inviting them to attend to take part in riots. Another message on the page said 'Let's start the riots in Fife see what the police can do'."
Kennedy, 20, of Leven, Fife, admitted a charge on indictment of breaching the peace by inviting others to a Facebook event inciting them to take part in a riot in August last year.
The court was told that Kennedy had been "seriously affected" by his upbringing. His mother died when he was aged just 12 from a drug problem, while his father has been in and out of prison throughout his life.
Sheriff Grant McCulloch also placed Kennedy on an 18 month community payback order.
He told Kennedy: "This was a very serious threat to public safety at the height of the most appalling riots that were taking place at the time in England. This is a case highly suitable for a custodial sentence but your own circumstances indicate an alternative may be appropriate."
Kennedy is the fifth Scottish man to be sentenced over inciting riots on Facebook. Jordan McGinley and Shawn Divin were jailed for three years each at Dundee Sheriff Court over their offence.
Their appeal against their sentences was heard last month and their terms were cut to 27 and 29 months respectively.
Meanwhile, Liam Allan, also of Dundee, was jailed for 19 months after setting up a page inviting people in Dundee to "show them tea sippers how its done". But Stephen Nisbet, of Kirkcaldy, also received a community disposal after trying to incite riots in the Fife town.
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