Blast for anti-fracking activists removed from firm's premises

Anti-fracking campaigners have been slammed by pro-shale gas groups after protests at a supply chain company.

Thursday, 20th April 2017, 4:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:53 pm
Anti-frackers have targeted companies which supply goods or services to shale gas firm Cuadrilla. Here they visited a company in Derbyshire which stores a drilling rig.

Activists were removed from the premises of contractor Pete Marquis by staff there, as they tried to stage a blockade, including by chaining themselves to obstacles.

The Lea Town company has been working as a supplier for Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road shale gas drilling pad being constructed near Little Plumpton. In a separate incident yesterday, anti-fracking protesters staged a noisy demonstration outside the Barclays bank in St Annes.

Barclays backs Third Energy which is aiming to frack in Ryedale, Yorkshire.

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Lancashire For Shale, which backs the development of an onshore gas industry in the county, said protests targeting supply chain companies were unfair.

A spokesman said: “Pete Marquis, owner of Fylde coast based Pete Marquis Contractors, successfully prevented an attempt to deny access to his business by around 10 anti-fracking activists.

“The group of protesters from as far afield as Birmingham and London targeted Mr Marquis’ premises with a ‘lock-on’.

“Mr Marquis and other staff members carefully moved the activists out of the way so they could continue with the day’s work.”

CEO of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber, Babs Murphy, said: “The Chamber condemns any bullying and intimidation of local businesses and employees.

“We commend Pete Marquis for taking proportionate steps to remove those trying to target his business, and many other Lancashire businesses who have also taken a stand against such aggressive and unjustified behaviour.”

Mr Marquis said: “I respect that people have got the right to protest but my employees and I have a right to go to work to earn a living too. When we saw what the activists were trying to do to shut us down, we decided to carefully remove them from our premises.

“As they were trespassing on private property we were legally entitled to do this. This sort of attempted bullying of a local business and workers by out of town professional protesters isn’t fair and it’s not going to work either.”

A Frack Free Lancashire spokesman said: “The aggressive and disproportionate behaviour of Mr Marquis and his staff is subject to a possible police complaint so it would be inappropriate to comment.”