‘Hamster gangster’ Andrew Gilbert, from Sheerness, jailed for his part in Dover riots

A cleaner nicknamed “the hamster gangster” after holding up a pet shop has now been jailed for his part in the Dover riots.

Andrew Gilbert has no political allegiances and said he became caught up in the protests because he looking for a job!

Gilbert went to January’s demonstrations with his boss “hoping to curry favour” and land a permanent post.

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But instead of a job, Gilbert, of Clyde Street, Sheerness ended up with a jail sentence for violent disorder.

The 29-year-old was nicknamed “the hamster gangster” after holding up a Canterbury pet shop seven years ago.

Gilbert had gone to Animal Antics in Wincheap, claiming he was carrying a gun and told staff: “Hand over a hamster, or I will shoot you!”

Now Canterbury Crown Court has heard how he travelled to Dover with his boss in January this year and joined a group of right-wing demonstrators.

Prosecutor Bridget Todd said he was seen by police at the head of a group who broke through police lines as officers tried to keep them away from a left-wing counter demonstration.

She said that Gilbert – who was wearing distinctive black and red trainers – was also caught on CCTV throwing four missiles at rivals.

He later told police he had gone along after being invited by his boss but knew nothing about “left wing or right-wing groups”.

Gilbert said he was told he was supporting truckers but was hoping he could secure a permanent job by joining his boss at a rally.

Ms Todd added: “He said he saw bad things and claimed he only threw small items after they had been thrown at him. He also expressed his remorse.

“He said he was scared at times but didn’t leave because he feared he would be beaten up by members of the right wing if he did,” she added.

Phil Rowley, defending, said at the time of the Dover demonstrations he was working for an agency on the Isle of Sheppey but was hoping to get a better job with a cleaning company.

“He doesn’t have any political or ideological affiliations – he was there to curry favour with his boss. He will not be attending any further demonstrations.”

Judge James O’Mahony jailed him for six months saying he had sympathy with the reasons he attended the demonstration.

In 2009, a drunken Gilbert went into a shop and threatened to shoot an assistant — unless he gave him a hamster.

Gilbert claimed he had a gun, shouting: “Do you want me to shoot you? I am going to shoot you if you don’t give me that hamster!”

He left after staff called 999 and was arrested minutes later in Wincheap, but had no weapon.

Gilbert, who was living at Guildford Lodge, Canterbury, later pleaded guilty to two charges of affray and was given a two-year supervision order.

Kent Online

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