August 13, 2011 12:42 pm0 commentsViews:

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled "Manchester police say sorry over tweet on woman who accepted looted clothes" was written by David Batty, for guardian.co.uk on Saturday 13th August 2011 15.42 UTC

Greater Manchester Police have apologised after appearing to celebrate a five-month jail sentence handed down to a mother-of-two for taking a pair of shorts looted during the disorder in Manchester. 

Ursula Nevin, who slept through the riots, took the shorts from a £629 haul of clothing and accessories stolen from the Vans store in the city centre by her housemate Gemma Corbett. 

Nevin was arrested for handling stolen goods after police raided the flat in Stretford. She was jailed for five months after pleading guilty at Manchester magistrates' court.

 Following her conviction, Greater Manchester Police posted this message on their official Twitter account: "Mum-of-two, not involved in disorder, jailed for FIVE months for accepting shorts looted from shop. There are no excuses!"

 Poster HeardinLondon was among those who criticised the force: "@gmpolice Your celebratory sentencing tweets are promoting hatred, divison & putting your officers in more danger. Think before you type."

The police force later deleted the tweet, posting this apology on the social networking site: "Apologies for any offence caused from last tweet. Comment was not directed at individual person. Thanks to all for feedback messages – all your comments have been noted. You are right, it is not our place to comment on sentences."

The court heard how Corbett, a call centre worker, had gone into the city centre after watching the riots unfold on TV. She then helped herself to stock from the ransacked Vans shop in the Northern Quarter. 

Corbett, 24, who admitted theft was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Manchester crown court. 

The judge told Nevin, also 24, that she was supposed to be a role model to her children, aged one and five. Khalid Qureshi, sentencing, said: "The first reaction you would expect some to have is 'get that stuff out of my house, I have two children that I'm responsible for'. 

"You would expect decent people to speak up and say 'no, this is wrong, get that out of my house'. You are a role model to your sons, yet you decided to have a look at the goods and keep some for yourself."

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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