On Tuesday 25 July 2017, four protestors stopped a convoy of lorries going to a fracking site in Lancashire. This week, three of the activists were sentenced to custodial sentences.
Residents of Little Plumpton have been fighting Cuadrilla Resources' plans for years. What started as a handful of local residents bemused that a new fossil fuel industry was about to start in their village escalated into a resistance of national symbolic importance.
Today's ruling represents a trend of escalation between environmental protestors and the police — from mass arrests of Dakota Access pipeline protestors in the US, to UK police abusing their powers when going undercover in environmental movements, and mass online surveillance of fracking activists via Facebook.
Read DeSmog UK's coverage of the Preston New Road fracking protests:
- How 25 Metres of Country Road Became England’s Fracking Frontline
- Revisiting the Resistance on England’s Fracking Frontline
- Fracking Month of Action Unites Local and National Campaigners in Lancashire
Rich Loizou, Simon Roscoe Blevins, and Richard Roberts all spent between two and four days on top of the lorries that were making their way to the Preston New Road fracking site.
All three were found guilty of a public nuisance offence by a jury on 22 August 2018. A fourth protestor, Julian Brock, pleaded guilty at a separate hearing so did not face trial.
Breaking through a police convoy accompanying the lorries, they managed to climb on top vehicles as they passed the local anti-fracking camp at Maple Farm.
Blevins and Roberts were sentenced to 16 months, while Loizou was jailed for 15 months. They are to serve half of their sentences in jail, with the remainder on license. Brock, who pleaded guilty, received a 12 month suspended sentence.
This article first appeared at Desmog.uk.