A CHRISTCHURCH man has been jailed after he admitted taking part in violence that broke out at a pro-Tommy Robinson demonstration in central London.

James Thomas, who is 28 and of Priory View Road, Burton, is one of a group of individuals to be sentenced for violent disorder following the protest in Whitehall in June 2018.

The Metropolitan Police said more than 20 officers were injured during the disorder, with scaffolding, glass bottles and heavy barriers being thrown at police.

Thomas was one of six defendants handed prison sentences at Southwark Crown Court on Monday after pleading guilty to violent disorder.

He was jailed for 18 months.

The group were brought to court after the Met launched Operation Augusta to investigate the violence at the protest.

Detective Sergeant Matt Hearing, who led the operation, said officers reviewed "hundreds of hours" of CCTV and body worn video.

He added: "Peaceful protest plays an important role in our society. However, the actions of some involved in this demonstration showed a contempt both for the law and the police.

"Officers that day were there to ensure the safety of all those taking part, yet were met with abuse and violence."

Robert Hutchinson, a prosecutor from the London Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) complex casework unit, said the "terrifying disorder" at the demonstration was "inexcusable".

Prosecutor Aska Fujita told the court that police had become "overrun" by disorder in central London by those calling for former English Defence League leader Robinson's release from prison for contempt of court.

Footage from police bodyworn cameras showed officers with batons raised coming face to face with Free Tommy Robinson protesters, some of whom threw bottles, cones and other missiles.

At one point, the officers were so outnumbered they were forced to retreat to sanctuary at Great Scotland Yard, just off Whitehall, and away from the worst of the violence.