A councillor has apologised after accusing anti-fracking protestors of being involved in a break-in at a bank.
Coun Gordon McCann, Wyre Council’s economy portfolio holder, made the comments during the Shale Gas World UK debate last month when he accused Frack Off and Residents Action on Fylde Fracking (RAFF) of “breaking into the Royal Bank of Scotland” and “reclaiming the streets”.
He said at the meeting: “I keep saying it and I don’t apologise for saying it.
“The general public is not stupid.
“They know what’s going on. They know that the Frack Off and the RAFF people in Fylde, and they know what their agenda is.
“And quite frankly they’re there, they were at the… they were in there breaking into the Royal Bank of Scotland, they were... in London, and they were...they were...reclaiming the streets.
“You’ve seen it all.”
Coun McCann made the remarks at the event attended by fracking experts, including Francis Egan, the chief executive of Cuadrilla Resources.
Cuadrilla is a company which wants to undertake hydraulic fracturing or ‘fracking’ – a method of extracting shale gas from rock deep underground through the use of deep drilling and high pressure water and chemicals – on the Fylde coast. The firm is being opposed by Frack Off and RAFF.
The debate was recorded and posted on YouTube, leading Wyre Council to issue an apology in the comment section underneath the video where Coun McCann retracted his comments.
The apology read: “I would like to fully retract and unreservedly apologise for the comments I made towards the end of the Shale Gas World UK debate in June.
“The comments I made about Residents Action on Fylde Fracking and Frack Off that they were involved with the break in of the Royal Bank of Scotland and reclaiming the streets of London were wrong and unfounded.
“I am deeply sorry for any offence this may have caused to anyone associated with either group and ask that they accept my unreserved apology.”
Coun McCann is due to meet with members of RAFF today to discuss the comments.
Ian Roberts, chairman of RAFF, said: “We are a group of local residents who behave ourselves in an honourable and decent manner.
“We tell the truth and encourage people to do their own research into this.
“We are unhappy about the comments he has made and we are having a meeting to talk this through.”
When Coun McCann was contacted by The Gazette, he declined to make any further comment about his remarks.