Riots: Jury Sees Police Helicopter 'Shot At'

Lisa Dowd, Midlands correspondent

A jury has been shown the moment a police helicopter was allegedly fired at from the ground during last summers riots in Birmingham.

The prosecution claims that black and white footage filmed from the West Midlands force's helicopter showed one defendant, Tyrone Laidley, from the Nechells area of the city, holding a firearm up in the air.

"We say it was fired," said Andrew Lockhart QC, "as you can see the muzzle flash from the weapon."

Mr Laidley, five other men and two youths are accused of riot, violent disorder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and reckless arson.

The helicopter was targeted after a gang of around 30 were dispersing after the Barton Arms pub was set on fire in Newtown, Birmingham , on August 9 last year, said the prosecution.

Mr Lockhart said the case was not about "large scale looting" but the aim of the defendants, he said, was to "lure" a "large number of police officers onto the streets where they could be attacked".

Following the fire, large numbers of police riot vans arrived at the scene and this, said Mr Lockhart, was "exactly what had been anticipated".

Wayne Collins, from Luton, Tyrone Laidley, Francis Nicholas, Renardo Farrell, Jermaine Lewis, all from the West Midlands, Joyah Campbell, of no fixed address and two teenagers who cannot be named, all deny the charges.

The trial continues and is likely to last six weeks.