An England fan accused of smashing up and dancing on an ambulance during the World Cup last summer has today denied criminal damage.
James Elton, 27, is one of a group of people accused of hoisting himself on the roof of the rapid response car in the wake of England’s 2- 0 victory over Sweden on July 7 last year.
The ambulance, parked close to London’s Borough Market where crowds had gathered to watch the match, was left with a shattered windscreen and dents in its bonnet.
Elton – who was wearing a navy waistcoat, the trademark of England football manager Gareth Southgate – pleaded not guilty to damaging property at Inner London Crown Court today.
Defending, Jim Sturman, QC, told the court: ‘He is believed to bear a resemblance to Gareth Southgate.
‘When he was on the roof there was a lot of chanting of Gareth, Gareth.’
A video of the incident was later shared widely on social media and picked up by news outlets.
Mr Sturman said Elton accepts he was pictured in the footage climbing on the ambulance but denies he caused any of the marks on the vehicle.
Instead he described his client’s dance moves as a ‘soft shoe shuffle’ that would not have caused any harm.
Elton is due to stand trial alongside Perry Kangyue Jian, 26, from Poplar, London; Larissa Bell, 21, from East Kilbride, Glasgow; and Scott Dennett, 25, from Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire.
Miss Bell, Mr Dennett, and Mr Jian also denied damaging property at an earlier court hearing.
The group now face a five day trial at Inner London Crown Court beginning on June 24.
Judge Jeremy Donne QC granted Elton unconditional bail until that date.
England’s win over Sweden, which took place in the Russian city of Samara, saw England secure their place in the semi-final last summer.